Aug. 22, 2016 — Bloodless Beltway Edition

The following AP article ran in countless media outlets across America this morning:

To Reach the Dead, Washington Springs to Life

By Julie Pace, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — With just 77 days left until Election Day, a grave new reality appears to be emerging this city’s broad networks of operatives and opportunists: a race to reach the dead is on.

In recent weeks, a rash of shiny new political consultancies, boutique law firms, tech startups, PR agencies and seance specialists — never before seen in political circles — have popped up everywhere in the nation’s capital, drawn by the alluring financial gains promised by what’s quickly become known as the Mortality-Industrial Complex.

No candidate for political office in U.S. history has effectively marshaled the massive constituency of deceased voters that now appear to be on the table in an election season that has shocked observers from the start.

But now, investment dollars have started to pour into Washington following reports have indicated the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump is making a serious play for dead voters in a last-ditch effort to beat his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“These voters are literally underneath our feet,” said Graves Spindler, an advertising and communications consultant whose once-unusual first name may soon become more common among DC newborns. “The question is how can we reach them? And what messages will they find compelling?”

Some skeptics have warned that dead people are incapable of voting because they are dead. Others have pointed out that even if science did support a theoretical “Bereavement Ballot,” any votes cast by dead people would likely attract serious legal challenges.

But that didn’t stop the newly-formed Repose Partners from hanging up its shingle inside its new, 3,500-square-foot K Street office space on Monday. A press release announcing the group’s launch described Repose as “a public affairs agency for all eternity,” with services including opinion research, communications strategy and just simply “digging in graveyards” — a tactic not seen in the consultants’ playbook since the presidency of Andrew Jackson.

The new trend, led by Republican operatives because of Mr. Trump’s keen interest in the strategy, brings new meaning to the GOP’s “autopsy,” conducted after the 2012 election to diagnose the party’s problems and prescribe strategies to evolve into a modern party capable of taking back the White House in 2016 — including the adoption of better technology.

“We’ve got an app under development that gives our field team the ability to identify persuadable cadavers, present them with issues-based information right there at the cemetery, and ask them to sign a pledge to vote for Republicans up and down the ticket,” said Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist. “We’ll be releasing it for iPhone and Android.”

The Trump campaign officially has denied reports that it aims to turn out dead voters, but Markieff Morris, a once-deceased basketball player and surrogate for dead people, has been linked extensively to Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence.

“Dead people are mortified to see America’s lifeless political system stiffing us at every turn,” Morris told the Associated Press.

But more than the substantive issues important to those who have left this Earth, the almighty dollar once again appears to be the nail in the coffin prompting so many to take notice. Fees charged by attorneys advising on dead-voter strategies can routinely soar as high as $5,000 or more per hour.

“We just had to make a few simple tweaks,” said a spokesman for the Wall Street Journal. “Just a couple minor tweaks to turn our target readership from just plain old to just plain dead.”

The spokesman added with a grin: “Our profits have soared.”

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