As the Republican National Convention kicks off this week, the long national nightmare known as the 2016 election enters a new chapter.
It's at this point many may ask themselves, "How the hell did we get here?" It seems like only yesterday — if yesterday was actually 16 hilarious, horrifying months ago — that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) became the first major candidate to announce his bid for the presidency.
Lest we be lulled into forgetfulness by the dignified pomp-and-circumstance of the conventions, it bears reminding how decisively the 2016 election set a new standard of political absurdity. Now that the goofiness of the primaries has given way to the unfettered cynicism of the general election, here are 15 images from those early, innocent days before things went completely off the rails.
When the GOP's candidate clown car pulled up and it was... awkward.
When Jim Webb seemingly bragged about killing a guy...
...and Lincoln Chafee compared himself to a boulder...
...and then both disappeared.