Choose Your Own Budget Adventure!

You Are Given a Chance to Be King of America

Democrats and Republicans still reject your plan, and the government shutdown continues.87.png

Veterans' benefits are not being delivered, and the National Institutes of Health must cease promising clinical trials, denying hope to seriously ill patients. The nation is in crisis.

Browbeaten by your my-way-or-the-highway approach, conservative Republicans shuffle back to the Capitol and ask you once again about the specifics of your plan. They ask you to strip money for NPR and Planned Parenthood.

"No," you tell them. "I like Diane Rehm, and Science Friday is both educational and entertaining."

"Okay," they mumble.

To the amazement of Democrats, your plan passes the House. President Obama expresses doubts, but, by now, everyone is so tired of the shutdown that they'll do almost anything to end it. With support from a group of Democratic senators led by Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell convinces Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring your plan to a vote.

It passes. Obama has no choice but to sign it.

By now, it is Cinco de Mayo. After Obama signs the bill at noon Eastern, parties break out across the nation. Thousands, if not millions, of margaritas are toasted in your honor.

Awed by your leadership skills and "Scarface"-like ability to defeat rivals and stick to one plan, a majority of Americans quickly signs a pledge to appoint you King of America. Campaign ads, touting the pledge, are funded by a mysterious 501(c)4 group. You have no idea who is behind it. A robe and scepter arrive via mail, with no return address.

Congress is forced by public opinion to issue a plebiscite, and, with all nine Supreme Court justices openly speaking out against the measure, it wins a majority of support. You are anointed King of America.

Do you:

  • Accept the crown, knowing you will face a constitutional lawsuit filed by MoveOn.org and funded by Obama for America (Go to Page 16)
  • Politely decline, citing your faith in the Constitution as a guiding document, accept the presidency instead, and return the robe and scepter to the U.S. Postal Service (Go to Page 17)
Presented by

Chris Good and Alex Hoyt

Chris Good is an associate editor and online politics writer for The Atlantic. Alex Hoyt does story research for The Atlantic and illustrations for TheAtlantic.com.

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