With the Republican and Democratic National Conventions now behind us, we are officially thrust into the tumultuous midsts of the Presidential election season. For the next few weeks, it will consume our timelines, newsfeeds, hearts, and minds.
Or, maybe not. But either way, I think we can all agree that what we really need right now more than anything right is a man—or woman—who will stand up for us. Someone who represents our vision of America as it’s truly meant to be. Someone who can plant the seeds that will blossom into the luscious political fields of our dreams. Someone who will stomp out all remaining opposition and rule the galaxy with an iron fist. Someone we can believe in.
And so, without any further ado, I present you with my top 10 alternative choices for the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. What’s that? Oh, who cares that they’re all fictional. So is the rest of politics.
(This is the part where you start chanting “U.S.A! U.S.A.!” or “Yes we can!” or “America!” or “Spoon!” or whatever your political rallying cry of choice may be.)
Mitchell Hundred (Ex Machina)
Once a fledgling superhero known as The Great Machine, Mitchell Hundred began his career in civil service as a civil engineer, during which time he discovered an extra-dimensional device that granted him the otherworldly ability to communicate with machines. Although some might consider his career as a superhero to be an ugly blemish on his past, Mitchell soon retired that identity and went public, eventually becoming the Mayor of New York City in the wake of 9/11. Economically conservative but socially liberal, Mitchell Hundred’s seemingly practical and laissez-faire beliefs proved to be quite troublesome when put into active practice, but it never stopped him from fighting for the freedoms of every citizen—usually without the aid of his superhuman abilities, but yes, okay, sometimes it was necessary.
- Campaign Slogan: “You might knock us to the ground, but you sure as hell won’t keep us there.”
- First Lady: Uh, well, that’s funny you should ask. Mitchell...Mitchell has remained suspiciously moot on the subject of his romantic situation. He could very possibly be gay; or asexual, or he could not. Who says the leader of the free world needs a partner anyway?
Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars)
Say what you will about Palpatine, but the man knows how the political game works. With experience as a planetary senator, a chancellor, and Emperor of the known galaxy, he certainly has the credentials for the job. What other politician do you know that could play two sides of a war against each other—both forces of which he was ultimately in charge—and still manage to have the people willingly cede over to him complete legal control of the galaxy?
Furthermore, Palpatine is a leader who understands and respects the role of religion in an individual’s life, as proven by his dedication to the Sith practices of the dark side of the Force. But like any good leader, Palpatine puts the needs of his people first, and doesn’t let his own religious beliefs dictate his decisions. In fact, he systematically obliterated those spiritual zealots of the Jedi Order, who used their own religious beliefs as weapons to assert their authority over the masses. Also, the dude can shoot Force Lightning. And you thought Clinton’s saxophone was cool....
- Campaign Slogan: “Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.”
- First Lady: ...does the dark side of the Force count as a domestic partnership?
The Beast (Transmetropolitan)
Let’s just put this out there before we go any further: The Beast is a horrible, horrible person, one who is completely deserving of a nickname like “The Beast” (even his own children call him that). But the cynics among you will be eager to point out that, well, so are a lot of politicians. What separates the Beast from all the other candidates is that he is fully aware, nay, proud of his beastly nature. He has no qualms about the atrocities he might commit in office, and he simply doesn’t care to spin them in the media, either.
Yes, if nothing else, the Beast is quite possibly the most honest presidential candidate we could ever hope for. If you don’t vote for him, why should he help you? The presidency requires more of one person than could ever be given to a truly satisfactory degree, so rather than try to appease everyone, the Beast does what he can to deliver the bare minimum satisfaction to 51% of the population, because then at least he’s done his job. Honesty is always the best policy, right? And hey, better the devil you know....
- Campaign Slogan: “Nobody wants compassion. It doesn’t sell, you can’t make a living off it. All they want is decent television, a bit of spare change for booze, and a b***job every Saturday night.”
- First Lady: Uh, well, if you’re asking specifically who he screws, the answer is probably the people....
Laura Roslin (Battlestar Galactica)
Female president? Check. Religious devotee sympathetic to the spiritual beliefs of the majority without necessarily being conservative or letting those beliefs rule her choices? Check. Quite possibly the ultimate pragmatist? Uh, check. Forced into the presidency in the wake of the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, Laura Roslin was never the kind of politician for whom power was both the means and the ends. As leader of the 40,000-ish remaining humans in the galaxy, she was forced to make many, many difficult decisions, but time after time, she proved herself capable of acting in the best interests of the majority, without letting her emotions or personal aspirations cloud her judgement (for the most part, anyway. Which frankly is more than can be said for many politicians...). Regardless of the difficulty of the situation, Laura Roslin always remained confident and composed, and she was not afraid to make the difficult decisions when they had to be made. There is a fine line between the right decision and the smart decision, but Laura Roslin is a leader who is capable of toeing that line with the utmost grace.
- Campaign Slogan: “It’s not smart. It’s politics.”
LadyLord? First Mister? Whatever: Admiral William Adama, who of course brings with him an impressive resume of military experience.
Mayor Richard Wilkins III (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
With a wholesome, optimistic demeanor, an affinity for golf, and a true dedication to family values, Mayor Richard Wilkins III (also known as Mayor Richard Wilkins I and Mayor Richard Wilkins II) is almost certainly the most charismatic option for leadership this country has ever seen. So what does it matter that he maintains his longevity through ritualistic sacrifices to the demons that exist underneath his home town? He’s a tender, loving father figure! How could you not like the guy?
A political conservative, Mayor Wilkins has (over the course of three lifetimes) always understood the necessity of allowing certain...rogue elements, shall we say...to perpetuate in order to...stimulate...the economy. Still, he has never failed to provide for and protect the hardworking townsfolk, encouraging them to move through their pedestrian lives in ignorant bliss, completely unaware of the insidious happenings that help keep their town working. There is a certain amount of unavoidable darkness in any position of power, and Mayor Richard Wilkins is the only leader truly capable of embracing—nay, encouraging—that darkness without sacrificing his belief in wholesome American families. Plus sometimes he’s literally a giant snake and tries to eat your entire graduating high school class.
- Campaign Slogan: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat. And I happen to know that’s factually true.”
- First Lady: I suppose that’d be everyone’s favorite rogue slayer, Ms. Faith Lehane, as Mayor Richard Wilkins I’s wife passed away from old age many, many years ago. (I guess demonic sacrifices to ensure your own longevity have no bearings on the health of your partner)
Paul Muad’dib Atreides (Dune)
For those of you concerned about political corruption, look no further than Paul Muad’dib Atreides, whose ascension to the seat of power came about as one of many necessary steps to dismantle the treacherous monopolies and high-ranking extortions that had plagued the galaxy up until that point. The byproduct of countless generations of selective breeding programs to create and control the Kwisatz Haderach, “the one who can be many places at once,” Muad’dib was born a generation earlier than anticipated, and refused to submit to the programming and plans of the rotten political and religious leaders that had been pulling the strings before him.
Often praised as a messiah, Muad’dib is a shoe-in with the religious voter base. But even those who are skeptical of religious leaders can find comfort in Muad’dib and feel confident that he is in fact working in their best interests—a clairvoyant (to say the least), Muad’dib has consistently used his unique abilities to navigate his decisions to provide the greatest possible outcome. Sure, sometimes bad things happen—jihads, for example—and while some folks might not be too happy about it, at least under Muad’dib’s rule, we’ll know that it could have been a whole lot worse.
- Campaign Slogan: “The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.”
- First Lady: Technically he’s married to Princess Irulan, daughter of the depose Emperor Shaddam IV, but strictly for political reasons. His true partner in life is Chani, a Fremen who is technically his concubine but also his true love and the mother of his children. (Which, side note, if you’ve read Dune, I can never quite decide if that last line is strangely feminist or terribly misogynistic...)
Green Arrow (DC Comics)
Oliver Queen is a political progressive and true hero of the people who previously served as the Mayor of Star City (or maybe not, depending on which continuity you’re referring to, because, comics). He also dresses up as a Robin Hood-inspired superhero and fights crime, both on his own and occasionally with the Justice League, as Green Arrow. He has enjoyed the life of a successful businessman and has continued to survive by his own wits, from desert islands to the streets. But regardless of his own economic status at any given point in time, Green Arrow has always asserted a consistent belief in community, in serving the people, and in championing the working class, as well as punching bad guys in the face and/or shooting them with exploding arrows.
- Campaign Slogan: “I never liked being called a hero. I just do what I think is right. Try to make a difference.”
- First Lady: That sonic screamin’ superheroine the Black Canary, of course. A superhero in office with another one standing beside him? What more could you ask for?
Cornelius Fudge (Harry Potter)
With six years of experience under his belt as Minister of Magic preceded by more than a dozen years as Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, Cornelius Fudge has more than proven his worth as a politician for the people. Or, well, at least for the wizarding people anyway. During his time in office, Cornelius established himself as a leader dedicated to the greater happiness and safety of his people. He took an active role in maintaining the information that was publicly dispersed, in genuine and concerned attempts to prevent any potential panic or outcry from the general public, and willingly positioned Dementors, the elite soldiers of the wizarding government, to protect the students at Hogwarts from the dangers of an escaped convicted convict. While his detractors might refer to him as “irrationally paranoid,” none will deny the fact that Cornelius Fudge’s political career was driven by a good heart with the best intentions, only overstepping the generally accepted boundaries of government control when it was deemed absolutely necessary for the greater good of the wizarding community.
- Campaign Slogan: “Security will remain the Ministry’s top priority.”
- First Lady: Supposedly, Cornelius is married. But we all know that Dolores Umbridge would still find a way to fill this role, even unofficially, bringing her trademark charm, as it were.
The Governor (The Walking Dead)
Born Brian Blake (though later taking the name of his brother Philip), the man affectionately known as The Governor was, well, the Governor of the town of Woodbury, GA, one of the last remaining bastions of civilization left in a post-apocalyptic zombie-ridden country. The Governor is the kind of leader who takes care of his own with true dedication and passion, plus the occasional no-holds-barred gladiator-esque fight-to-the-death between man and zombie just ‘cause, well, that’s entertainment.
While some would argue that there are three sides to every situation—the two opposing views, and the objective truth—the Governor understands that this is not always the case. No, there is only one side to any situation in which the Governor is involved, and that side is his. The Governor has little to no regard for those whom he does not govern, but as long as the Governor counts you among his tribe, or at least considers you to be of some value to him or his tribe, you can rest assured that the Governor will stand his ground as a strong and fearless leader who knows what’s right for you. And what’s right for him, which is coincidentally also the same as what’s right for you. But hey, at least you know he’s going to keep you alive. Probably.
- Campaign Slogan: “Kill them all!”
- First Lady: Uh, I guess maybe his...zombie daughter, who, uh, er...*gulp*...yeahh...I mean, not that, I don’t judge or anything....
President J. Thomas Whitmore (Independence Day)
A former fighter pilot turned total badass turned Bill Pullman. He led the world to victory against a nigh unstoppable alien invasion that marked the highest point in Roland Emmerich’s career. And he gave that speech.
I think that explains pretty much everything you need to know about this man’s value as a political leader.
- Campaign Slogan: “‘We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive. Today we celebrate our independence day!”
- First Lady: Mary McDonnell (Also known as President Laura Roslin of the Twelve Colonies, so you’re pretty much getting a two-for-one deal, as if that awesome speech wasn’t already enough to secure your vote.)
Now get out there and git yer vote on!
This message was brought to you by the campaign to elect Thom Dunn, a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist who enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (epecially when they involve robots). I’m Thom Dunn, and I approve this message.