The Golden Dukes Are Back

TPM's troll version of the Oscars have returned.
Golden Dukes 2022. TPM illustration.
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In 2020 we brought you the Duke of Dukes Golden Duke ceremony, a March Madness style winner-takes-all quest to answer the year’s most burning question: Who is the most brazen political buffoon of all time (errr… the last 20 years or so that TPM has been celebrating this kind of debauchery)???

We asked. You answered. Rudy Giuliani, in all of his rotten glory, was knighted the one Duke to rule them all.

To let old Rudes really marinate in his swamp of celebration, we took a year off from TPM’s annual fête-ing of the year’s scummiest trash holes and greatest grifters. But we’re back.

The midterm elections gifted us something we didn’t even know we were craving: a new cast of craven characters to revive our broken spirits, and a new standard by which to judge and luxuriate in their absurdity.

So without further ado, welcome to ✨Golden Dukes 2022✨ Clinking our glasses to craziness is what TPM does best.

For the handful of readers out there who have no clue what I’m talking about, here’s the short version: Each year TPM holds a virtual awards ceremony at the end of the year to honor our favorite public figures who dazzled in corruption, made the craziest comments, carried out the most craven deeds, etc. It’s like a troll version of the Oscars, for politics. We’ve got categories. We’ve got nominating rounds. We vote. We declare winners. We revel in the absurd and the grime and the brazenness.

The Golden Dukes are named after an early hero in the public corruption realm, Duke Cunningham, now the proud recipient of a Trump pardon. A few years ago, I wrote this piece about the history of the Golden Dukes at TPM, and spotlighted one particularly amazing Golden Dukes moment from years past when my colleague, Hunter Walker, physically delivered a Golden Dukes trophy to one of our favorite corrupt characters of all time. Give it a read if things like crack-smoking politicians and tacky steakhouses interest you.

This year’s categories are below. We brought back some old favorites and added a bit of 2022 flavor to the mix:

1. Best Scandal — General Interest
2. Best Scandal — Local Venue
3. Meritorious Achievement in The Crazy
4. The Expertly Cringe Campaign Ad/Meme (please include a video link if you have one)
5. Most Convoluted Conspiracy Theory/Most Creative Take On The Big Lie
6. Forgotten Heroes — This category will serve as an “in memoriam” to all of our favorite characters who either lost the midterms or didn’t make it past their primaries. These are the whacky candidates that we will miss most.

Here’s where you come in, dear reader. We need your nominations! To nominate someone, simply fill out the form below. We’ll select a handful of nominees per category and voting will begin later this week. Happy Duking!

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