Over 90 percent of registered voters say the next administration’s top priority should be minimizing the country’s collective embarrassment as the U.S. backslides into mediocrity.

WASHINGTON—As momentum builds toward the 2016 election, citizens across the nation told reporters this week they simply hope the next president of the United States can prevent the country’s decline from being an utterly humiliating experience for the American public.

Rather than discussing policy issues they feel strongly about, U.S. voters spoke instead of their desire to just put someone in the White House capable of getting America through the next four years of increased income inequality, environmental degradation, and catastrophic international entanglements with some shred of its dignity intact.

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“This time around, I’m really only asking for a president who can keep us from embarrassing ourselves any more than we already have as our country continues sliding backward,” said 36-year-old Cleveland resident Michael Shapiro, adding that he will throw his full support behind any candidate who demonstrates a clear vision for navigating the country through its unavoidable downfall with as much self-respect as can be mustered. “We need a leader who will help us bow out as gracefully as possible, so we can just transfer the reins to China or whoever without making a huge deal about it.”

“We’re already kind of a global laughingstock when it comes to things like health care, education, and our middle class,” he continued. “So if whoever’s in charge could just make sure we hold on to, say, our basic housing infrastructure and relatively clean water supply during our tailspin, that’d be great.”

According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted last month, 64 percent of Americans said their vote will hinge entirely on whichever candidate, regardless of party, can help the nation preserve some semblance of integrity while its moral standing in the world continues to plummet. Meanwhile, 58 percent reported they were desperate for a leader who can assume the responsibilities of commander-in-chief without making the country look completely helpless and ineffective in every single international dispute.

“That’s seriously all I want from my president going forward. Just the faintest of silver linings that I can hold on to while everything else goes down the drain.”

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In addition, 87 percent of citizens confirmed that during the next presidential term, they merely hope to occasionally read something about their country in the news that doesn’t leave them feeling ashamed, angry, depressed, or completely mortified.

“It’s pretty simple, really: Just lay out a clear-cut, straightforward plan for a future in which we don’t totally go down in flames on a grand stage, and you’ve got my vote,” said Allison Joyce, a 47-year-old middle school teacher from Bethesda, MD. “Look, I don’t need to be inspired; I don’t need to be assured our future is bright; I don’t need to be told I’m strong and resilient in the face of hardship. Just convince me we can get through the next decade in the least demeaning way possible given all our problems with childhood poverty, gun violence, and people dying because they can’t afford medical treatment. That’s it.”

“That’s seriously all I want from my president going forward,” she added. “Just the faintest of silver linings that I can hold on to while everything else goes down the drain.”

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Though they admitted to reporters that no one in the current field of presidential hopefuls seems likely to spare the country much humiliation while its infrastructure crumbles and its reputation is reduced to tatters, most voters expressed optimism that such a candidate will eventually emerge.

“We know what’s in store for America, so if we could elect someone who’s committed to keeping things somewhat tolerable while the whole place goes to hell, that’d be great,” said Seattle-based tax attorney Greg Hudson, 57. “It’s really our best hope at this point. The British Empire kind of just gradually fell by the wayside without too much embarrassment. Maybe we can, too. Who knows, we might still be able to go out with a little bit of class.”

“Then again,” Hudson added, “maybe at this point the best option is to put someone in the White House who will just bite the bullet and get this whole thing over with as quickly as possible.”

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