The Brighter Side of the Republican Zombie Apocalypse

2040 Election Results are in, as Democrats celebrate 20 years of Republican control of Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nov 20, 2040 If you were alive in 2020, you would be shocked, not just at the notion that Democrats would be so jubilant that Ivanka Trump would defeat Chelsea Clinton to become the 50th president of the United States, but that Republicans control Congress.

But again, that would be 2020. Here in the year 2040, it’s a very different story.

For those who don’t recall the old 2020s, it was that troubling time when Republicans’ massive changes to voting laws allowed the GOP to take control of Congress in 2022, leading to the re-election of President Donald Trump in 2024.

But it was because of his re-election that provided the ironic historical twist that might not have otherwise happened. The coronavirus variant now known as COVID-2024-Z spread quickly throughout Northern Texas, where residents had previously refused to get vaccinated. It was there that doctors found that infected individuals who also happened to be suffering from terminal diseases, such as cancer and cardiac disease, were no longer dying. Patients could even stop treatment altogether, and to this date, no one with the new variant has been known to die, unless they suffered significant trauma to the brain, such as being shot in the head or decapitated.

Drug companies immediately created a vaccine for the new variant, but Trump discouraged its use, proclaiming that the new virus was a godsend. “It’s the fountain of youth! No one is dying or needing any kind of medical attention! I urge all Republicans to infect themselves!”

And infect themselves, they did. But this was before another symptom of the new COVID variant became apparent: a severe lack of cognitive impairment. Initially dismissed as “fatigue,” most affected individuals would stand and stare, maybe walk around slowly and aimlessly, going about their daily routines, often doing menial tasks.

The connection to the COVID variant was confirmed when Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who had been diagnosed with the variant in mid 2025, was speaking to an empty Senate chamber at 2am on a Sunday in his signature monotonic voice. “Our number one priority is to stop the Biden-Obama agenda. We have to stop the liberal, socialist agenda that President Biden has planned.”

He repeated the phrase over and over, pausing briefly between utterances, rarely blinking or showing any emotion on his face.

This is when Max Brooks, author of zombie novels, including World War Z, proposed adding the “Z” at the end of the COVID variant’s name because infected people were virtually zombies. (One of McConnell’s aides told an AP reporter off the record, “I didn’t realize Mitch was actually a Zombie till the diagnosis came back. It was really hard to tell the difference.”)

As with the original COVID-19 virus, the new variant was already a point of partisan divide, with Democrats rapidly vaccinating themselves, and Republicans intentionally infecting themselves. But Republicans ignored the warnings of the cognitive impairment, and instead focused only on achieving immortality. As they slowly turned into mental zombies, they simply became more docile and settled into doing ritualistic behaviors, over and over. For most, this was simply the act of voting for Republicans.

Medical experts tried to get Trump to reverse his position, but he continued to spread the lie that there was nothing wrong. “As long as these people vote Republican, what’s the problem?”, he said to Sean Hannity.

In a 2026 interview with Anthony Fauci, he said, “They’re just plain, simple Republicans whose lives haven’t really changed much, other than no longer being in a state of continual outrage. The country has suddenly become eerily peaceful, but also really fucking freaky.”

Political scientists, psychologists and economists disagreed as to whether the conditions were good or bad. Given that the affected individuals weren’t dying or getting sick, billions of dollars are being saved in health care and other treatments. Plus, the psychology of the country became far less confrontational, since mostly only Republicans and extreme religious groups were affected, leaving the rest of the country much happier.

On the other hand, certain sectors of the economy were hit pretty hard. The first was the decimation of the gun industry, where sales dropped to an all-time low and never recovered. Fox News advertising sales plummeted, and Facebook engagement was almost non-existent, save for announcements of high school graduation parties and the like. Far-right news outlets Newsmax and One America News Network (OANN), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

By 2028, most Republican members of the House and Senate had also been infected by COVID-2024-Z and were also exhibiting similarly docile, yet incoherent behaviors. Marjorie Taylor Green’s campaign involved a single press events, where she calmly and dispassionately stated, “Vote for me,” and walked off stage. No one was actually present at the event, except for a single CNN cameraman. By then, most Republican voters were infected, so they dutifully went to the polls and re-elected her.

Because of the severe gerrymandering the Republicans had instituted throughout the country, combined with extremely limited voting restrictions on Democrats, Greene — and most other Republicans — won by an overwhelming majority. And it’s been that way ever since.

This is when Democrats came up with their plan. As former NPR political reporter, now DNC chair, Asma Khalid said, “It’s pretty simple: We write bills that contain the actual policies that that do good things for the country, such as allocating money to public health plans or teachers, and taxing the super wealthy and major corporations, but then we give the bills titles that have Republican-sounding phrases like, ‘The 2026 Free Guns For All Patriots Act.’ Since Trump family members never read actual bills, only their titles, they proclaim each bill to be ‘the greatest bill ever,’ and tell Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy to pass them.”

And they dutifully do exactly that. Since Democrats enacted this plan shortly after COVID-2024-Z spread throughout the entire Republican party — as well as all far-right and religious groups — the entire country has improved by every measure. Public confidence is high, the economy is booming, college and healthcare are free, and racial tensions are at an all time low.

All this, despite the fact that there are only ten Democrats in the House and Senate.

Relations with other countries are good too, since the only affected individuals seem to be political and religious extremists. When the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord was signed in 2028, it was the first time that fireworks, not bombs, were seen overhead and applauded by sane, rational people on both sides. Conflict around the world nearly ground to a halt.

But not all Democrats are onboard with the plan. Senator Joe Manchin, the long-time Democrat from West Virginia who could have stopped all this in 2020 by voting to suspend the filibuster and stop the voter restriction laws that allowed Republicans to take over government, continues to hold out hope for bipartisanship among his colleagues.

“Look, I realize they’re zombies,” Mr. Manchin said to New York Times columnist David Brooks over a zoom call, “but Republicans still control the Senate and the House. As the minority party, we Democrats have an obligation to respect the traditional order, and not take advantage of their cognitive failures. Even if we all know these new policies we’re fooling them into signing are good for the country, including their own voters, it’s just not right. I mean look at them, they can’t even shoot a gun, let alone type at a keyboard to draft legislation. I am willing to help, but I will not allow far left policies to be written into laws without ample debate on the floor.”

Progressives are also unhappy with the situation, and warn Democrats that, because Republicans aren’t dying naturally, and it’s still illegal to shoot them in the heads, Republicans will soon outnumber every demographic group in the country.

Yet, Senator Bernie Sanders appeared circumspect. In an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, he said, “Look, if we had universal health coverage and a $15 minimum wage back in 2024, we could have prevented this tragedy from happening. But now that I see how much we can get done, perhaps it isn’t so bad. And this ‘moderate middle’ idea may be a good thing after all.”

Still, progressives’ ambitions continue to be stymied by Mr. Manchin, who told NPR, “When Republicans can bring someone into my office that can actually hold a conversation, instead of drooling on their ties, that’s when we can negotiate. Till then, we’re just going to have to wait on these really progressive policies.”

As for president elect Ivanka Trump, when asked what she hopes to accomplish in her first 100 days, she said she has a new line of perfumes she expects to release. “These will be so amazing because they’ll bear the Presidential Seal! Look for them on Etsy soon!”

As for Chelsea Clinton, she told the AP, “I’m proud to be following in the footsteps of my parents, both of whom won the popular vote to win the presidency.” It’s unclear how much of the vote Clinton won in 2040, since Republican legislatures are no longer required to release that information. But independent observers (FiveThirtyEight, et al.) counted the number of Democrats who stood in line, and they estimate that, were those people allowed to actually cast their ballots, Clinton would have won by 25 million votes.

Of course, the White House claimed that 24.5 million of those people were really illegal immigrants and Chinese dissident groups, an assertion unsubstantiated by photographs, video footage and interviews with people from around the country.

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