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The GOPasaurs shuffled onto, around, and finally off the stage in Tampa, leaving little for future students of the fossil record beyond a few coprolites.

Now that we're in the final stretch of this eons-long campaign, the differences between the GOPasaurs and their smarter, better-looking, and more highly-evolved Democratic mammals couldn't be more stark. Anyone who's still "undecided" needs to have their vital signs checked. If you need further data to reach a conclusion, here's the latest scorecard for Team Extinction:

Brontosaurus Romneii - it's been a rough summer for the lumbering one, his White Eohippus Prophecy of easy ascension to the presidency apparently just one more urban legend. Seeking to change his fortunes, B. romneii selected as his running mate the youthful Prevaricasaurus ryanii (see below). This did divert attention from the continued demands for fiscal transparency about B. romneii's personal finances and taxes, replacing it with demands for the so-called "plan" that the B. romneii-P ryanii team claims to have crafted. Since much of the B. romneii record has been reduced to cross-cut shreds, and his future plans are shrouded in secrecy, and his present behavior inspires deep suspicion, there's only one thing left for this fossil flip-flopper to do: throw his campaign staff into the volcano. It's one of the few guilty pleasures he can still enjoy.

Oscardelarentasaurus annii - seeking to overcome B. romneii's well-deserved cold-blooded reputation, harried convention planners juggled the schedule over and over until O. annii could appear in prime time. In her blood-red plumage, this Mesozoic matron left no doubt that she had attained the highest level of evolution allowed for saurian females: selection of a deep-pocket mate, and reproduction. Far from humanizing B. romneii, her speech only confirmed what many feared: these two were made for one another, and it is to the everlasting benefit of saurian evolution that they married each other rather than bedeviling anyone else.

Prevaricasaurus ryanii - it's not nice to fool mother nature, but for P. ryanii, it's just part of his everyday saurian schtick. Running vast distances at a faster pace than a velociraptor? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt to prove it. The misbegotten descendant of Objectivisaurus aynrandii and a sect of Catholicasaurs that seem to have taken a wrong evolutionary turn, P. ryanii concurrently espouses upstanding religious platitudes while tossing millions of his fellow beings through a shredded safety net into the abyss of hunger, poverty, joblessness, hopelessness, despair, and even death. On the plus side, he has diverted attention from B. romneii's secret cave of fossilized tax returns, replacing it with an existential threat to life as we know it. Not bad for such a young fellow. He's clearly destined for great things. Or a conviction for perjury

Geriatrasaurus eastwoodii - taking the evolutionary path less travelled, G. eastwoodii turned hard right as the other denizens of the Hollywood tar pits took a left. Once respected throughout the animal kingdom as a powerful force, this cranky Cretaceous critter fell from grace in a matter of minutes, evoking shock, pity, and disgust as he lost a battle of wits with an inanimate object. Extinction, professionally if not personally, is looming large for G. eastwoodii. He will, however, live on in the annals of convention trivia for "most distracting performance", yet another setback for the hapless B. romneii.

Meanwhile, on Team Evolution, only the most embittered dead-enders wouldn't agree that the Charlotte convention exceeded expectations (not that Tampa had set the bar very high). Mammalian minds had been hard at work for months selecting and coordinating speakers that combined aspiration, inspiration, articulation, and amplification.

Canis Giganticus "clintonii" - the progenitor of our modern canids, this good dog slipped his collar, but stayed in the yard (this time) to the relief of all (other than the Vegas oddsmakers). While his speech may have dragged on for what seemed like geologic time, there was no question that C G clintonii had left his mark as a Fossil Force to be Reckoned With. Other canids will smell that mark, and keep on moving. The Big Dog has spoken. Any questions?

Scrantodontus joebidenii - while some have consigned this elder statesman to the Fossil Hall at the museum, and others have urged Megapotus barackii to toss him into the Tar Pits in favor of Diplomasyops hillarii,  there's plenty of Mesozoic moxie left in this wily streetfighter. Sure, he'll still utter the occasional gaffe from time to time, but S. joebidenii left no doubt that he's ready to take the fight to P. ryanii in a paleo-pay-per-view smackdown for the ages, proving once again that it's not over until the Megatherium bellows.

Flotusfantabulus michelleii - in contrast to the hyperventilating exhortations of uber-botoxed O. annii, F. michelleii exuded a warmth so genuine, a beauty so natural, a love so palpable, and a vision so inspirational that it almost warranted a complete Tampa re-do. Just kidding. Evolution only moves forwards, guys, sorry. A national treasure, F. michelleii has been suggested by some as a 2016 candidate, and no, we are not kidding.

Megapotus barackii - following these and other phenomenal speakers from every ethnic, gender, age, occupation, and experience provenance was no easy feat. Knowing that his every utterance would be stripped from its natural context and reconfigured in B. romneii's juvenile attack ads didn't help either. Nonetheless, the millions who listened and watched were reminded of the reasons that they had supported this highly evolved and cerebral candidate from the rough streets of Chicago. A man beset and beseiged by the nearly toothless old reptiles in their final death throes, fighting to maintain their pasty-white way of life. With any luck, they'll have the rest of geologic time to wonder WTF happened in November 2012, when once again, the people made their choice, however baffling.

3:24 PM PT: In response to your votes... Part I

Behemasaurus christii - the Earth's crust in the Garden State heaved a sign of relief as B. christii set forth for Tampa. By any measure, this Mega-Mesozoic figure was widely anticipated as the highlight of the GOPasaur convention, the perfect antidote to B. romneii's robotic oratorical tendencies. Unfortunately, the soaring rhetoric, the impassioned pleas, and the moving stories in B. christii's speech were designed for only one purpose: to mark his 2016 place in the GOPasaur quest for the White Cave. Like many of the speakers, he only mentioned the name of the Bland One a few times, as though he were invoking the name of Voldemortasaurus or some other One Who Shall Not Be Named. Everyone in the audience was united in their thought: "how come we wound up with that blathering brontosaurus instead of this guy?" B. christii has hundreds of reasons for sitting out this election cycle. Too bad. Dude's much more entertaining.

4:13 PM PT: Part II in response to your votes...

Castronodon julianii - contrary to the prevailing sentiment of many on the Great Orange Kossack Inland Sea, there are Progressive mammals in the Permian Basin of Texas. While they're strewn across the landscape, their tenacity and passion for turning the Lone Star State blue are second to none. Rising star C. julianii exemplifies the species: a young, well-educated, successful leader; well-spoken, charismatic, and eminently relatable. His Latino roots remind us that demographic evolution is well underway in Texas. This infuriates one group of Baggasaurs in particular: Caucasosaurus retrospectii. These dead-enders cling to the notion that, with the miracle of time travel, we can return to a time when men were men and women were amenable, and when they can hang out with others of their pasty-white clan (Klan?) in a cold, dark,and unregulated world, living out their days with the twin blessings of Social Security and Medicare as "others" languish and die waiting for emergency room care. C. julianii dares to dream of a better world. They hate that sh*t.

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| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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