For All The Dukes: Rudy Giuliani And The Golden Duke Himself Make The Championship

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December 28, 2020 4:46 p.m.

From America’s mayor to the face of Trump’s impeachment to the sniffling, melty lawyer leading the charge to dismantle democracy, Rudy Giuliani’s fall from grace — or at least from the decent, respected circles of society — might just have transformed what it means to be a Golden Duke.

Or maybe the lava lamps and the bribery and the slime of “Duke” Cunningham will continue to outshine Giuliani, from beginning ’til end (or until next year, of course).

In the championship of our 2020 Duke of Dukes competition, Rudy is facing down the eponymous Duke himself. It’s up to you, dear readers.

But first, it’s worth a look back at how we got here. We started with 18 candidates. Now it’s down to just the two.

TPM Illustration/Getty Images

Last week you made clear — with some special pleading from us — that while Dinesh D’Souza’s years of dog whistling, campaign finance violations and rhetorical attacks on teenagers who survived a school shooting made the political commentator a fan favorite, the cartoonish exploits that first earned Cunningham the Golden Duke eponym were enduring and epic enough to at last kick Dinesh out of the running entirely.

Giuliani, meanwhile, triumphed over Dick Cheney, whose shotgun-to-the-face moment was enough to earn him his rightful place in any Golden Duke contest. We chose to focus specifically on the hunting “accident” because shooting your friend in the face and forcing your friend to apologize for getting shot in the face is truly special. There were plenty of war crimes in the Bush administration, but only Cheney carried one out with his own hands.

You, the people, spoke and in the last round Rudy’s ongoing, unhinged, present-day antics won him the match.

Now, we arrive at the championship. While Duke’s corruption was luxurious and brazen (see: “bribe menu”), Rudy’s descent from valorized hero to an authoritarian’s raving sidekick has been a plot arc lasting decades. He’s now made himself a pillar of the Trump presidency, gifting us the opportunity to debate which Rudy-crafted scandal was the worst of the last four years. Was it the crusade to force a foreign government to dig up fake dirt on the son of Trump’s presidential rival? His astoundingly poor court record? The Four Seasons Landscaping press conference? The melting sideburns?

Clearly, you know this writer’s bias on who should win out in the end. Vote and let us know yours.

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