The current Republican nominee and potential President of the United States, Donald Trump, is arguably a politician like no other; his misogyny, his xenophobia, and his incompetency are largely unprecedented in US politics. However, there’s more than a few television shows that seem to have had him sussed a long time ago…
When it’s from: 2013
What it’s about: Episode two of Black Mirror’s second series, The Waldo Moment is about a cartoon character that runs for political office.
How it’s like Trump: Both Waldo and Trump are oafish, abrasive characters, who first rose to prominence in a reality TV setting, and were able to find appeal amongst a disillusioned electorate due to seemingly existing outside of the political elite. Again, much like Trump, it soon becomes clear that Waldo is just as much, if not more, of a member of the establishment – underneath all the bluster and the proclivity towards penis jokes, he’s just a rich old white man, looking to further his own agenda and become more powerful.
When it’s from: 2014
What it’s about: The third season of Veep saw Joe Thornhill, a former baseball coach, running a campaign in the primaries against Selina Meyer, the eponymous Veep.
How it’s like Trump: Much like Thornhill, Trump has no political experience whatsoever. Again, much like Thornhill, Trump has a history of adultery, and conducted himself poorly in the first Presidential debate. Arguably the only differences are ones of extremity; Thornhill had only one affair, was only vaguely chauvinistic, and didn’t really get very far in the electoral race. It seems Trump’s campaign was simply too outlandish for this satirical program.
Parks and Recreation
When it’s from: 2012
What it’s about: Paul Rudd played Bobby Newport in Parks and Recreation’s fourth season, which saw him running against Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope for city council.
How it’s like Trump: Bobby Newport was a childish, incompetent man, with essentially no idea what he was doing; the only reason he ran for office was for “something to do”. He’d been spoiled his entire life, and was the heir to a huge fortune, and constantly trying to live up to his father. The only thing that’s different is that Newport is charming and innocent, as opposed to just disgusting.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
When it’s from: 1981
What it’s about: Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide featured the character Zaphod Beeblebrox, an arrogant egomaniac who acts as president of the galaxy.
How it’s like Trump: At the time when Trump was picking his running mate, a story broke that his team had approached John Kasich, and suggested he could be in charge of domestic and foreign affairs as the Vice President, while Trump would take on the far more nebulous role of “Making America Great Again”. Essentially, Trump would be a figurehead – much like Zaphod Beeblebrox, who “wields no real power whatsoever”. To be galactic president “the qualities […] required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage”. Ultimately “his job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.” It’s very, very easy to see the similarities with Trump there.
In fact, the galactic president even traditionally wears orange…
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