“I’m very curious to see which one of these two clinically sociopathic individuals will present the most convincing and authentic approximation of an actual human conscience tonight,” said Cincinnati-area voter Miranda Harrick, 40, adding that both candidates, like all successful politicians, were undeniably skilled at such calculated artifice. “I think whoever is able to best manipulate me into thinking they experience normative emotional states such as empathy and regret will probably have my vote come November, so I’m excited to see what happens.”
The debate figures to be especially important for undecided voters, 91 percent of whom said in a pre-debate poll that they were still waiting for one sociopath to win them over with the perfect combination of superficial charm, deluded grandeur, and pathological lying.
According to polls, viewer consensus following the first debate suggested Mitt Romney had performed a far more convincing impersonation of someone with real feelings and a capacity for human compassion. Voters praised the former governor’s ability to conceal his complete social disconnection and underlying hostility behind a wall of colloquial rhetoric and an approximation of warmth they described as “much more realistic” than Obama’s.
“Last debate, Romney was a great sociopath,” said Florida voter Jeff Yu, 28, who remarked that the Republican candidate’s impressive ability to simulate the appearance of caring had improved markedly since the beginning of the campaign. “He looked very comfortable and confident up there, even against a seasoned sociopath like Obama. He really helped me ignore the reality that to him, as to any politician, social interaction is nothing but a never-ending game of deception and psychological subterfuge, the only object of which is personal gain.”
Following Obama’s noticeable hesitancy during the first debate, many of his supporters expressed worry that he was struggling to effect emotional normalcy with the same single-minded cunning and feigned humanity he exhibited in 2008. They agreed the pressure is now on the president to show that he has not forgotten how to callously manipulate the American public into thinking he is anything at all like them.
“I want to see that same beguiling sociopath who, four years ago, conned me into believing his psyche was somehow differently wired from every other charming, sociopathic politician who had ever lived,” said Obama supporter Phoebe Greenwald, 43. “What happened to all his seemingly earnest, though of course meticulously contrived, rhetoric about hope and change that made us all like him and think he was in some way psychologically healthy and well-adjusted, which of course no human being in the history of modern politics ever has been?”