Netflix political drama series mirrors 2016 Elections
WARNING: Major plot spoilers ahead. So if you haven’t caught up to Season 4 or even seen a lick of “House of Cards”, I urge you to binge-watch the hell out it for the next few days— which will inevitably happen once you press “play”— and return to this article.
A couple of days ago, I watched a clip on YouTube of Stephen Colbert interviewing Kevin Spacey. While promoting his hit show “House of Cards,” Spacey mentions how the show is predictive of the 2016 Elections— meaning that it has foretold actual events that have or may come close to happening.
Since streaming its first episode, the Netflix series has shown its viewers a dark side to politics and the sinister things politicians will do for power; and protagonist or antagonist (I honestly can’t tell which one) Francis “Frank” Underwood is no exception.
Through all seasons, he’s manipulated, blackmailed and even murdered people in the name of becoming president of the show’s nation. In Season four, as his term as POTUS is coming to an end, Frank begins campaigning for another stint as the most powerful leader of the free world. At the same time, his past comes back to haunt him, his lies are in jeopardy of getting exposed, and his wife distances herself from his power hungry and conniving ways.
What’s most interesting to me about this season is the similarities between the several storylines and events that have occurred in this year’s presidential elections; and as the 2016 Elections prepare for the general elections, there are some events that could still happen in real life that occurred in the show.
Here are some ways in which the 2016 Elections echoes events in the fourth season of “House of Cards”:
A presidential candidate with a KKK connection
In the third episode, Frank makes a bid to win the Black vote in his home state of South Carolina. Prior to the state’s primary day, he visits a predominantly Black church and finds a ton of support. Everything goes to damage control mode the following day as he finds a banner near his hometown that shows his father standing alongside a Ku Klux Klan member. The image is draped across a huge billboard with the slogan “Underwood 2016.” As a result, Frank loses minority support and his background comes into question. He tries to resolve the controversy by going back to the church and explaining that his father didn’t have a choice, but the damage has already been done.
By the same token, controversy is nothing new for Donald Trump, presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. One of the many controversial highlights of Trump’s political campaign is when the KKK announced their support for him. As if their endorsement wasn’t good enough, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke also expressed interest in a Trump administration. The real-estate tycoon eventually denounced David Duke after avoiding to comment on the racially charged issue.
A presidential candidate whose own party is against him
It has been proven many times throughout the political drama series that Frank will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He’s crossed paths, burned bridges and made enemies with politicians in the Democratic Party as he climbed his way to presidency. Now that he’s campaigning for a second term, the very people he backstabbed remain with their backs turned.
Similarly, while some people enjoy Donald Trump’s imprudent recklessness, the GOP establishment is not a fan. Since the start of his campaign, the outspoken television personality has expressed radical ideologies and insulted many groups of people-- creating a divide in Republican Party. It seems like karma is getting the best of his crass rhetoric as a host of Republicans won’t support him for president, including Mitt Romney, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and former rivals John Kasich and Jeb Bush. In fact, many are vowing to skip the RNC altogether.
A First Lady with huge aspirations in politics running for elected office
It’s no secret that Frank’s wife Claire Underwood— portrayed by Robin Wright— is eager for a higher elected office position. In Season three, Claire is made United States Ambassador the United Nations. She attempts to speak with Francis about her furthering her role in politics, but he disregards the idea. Fed up with living in Francis’s shadow, Claire blackmails him into making her his vice presidential candidate (She admits to Frank that she responsible for posting the KKK photo on the billboard). This devious move demonstrates that the first lady is a lot like her husband: she will go to the extreme to have her way.
Former first lady Hillary Clinton yearns for a higher power in politics as well. After failing to secure the democratic nomination in 2008, she was appointed as secretary of state under the Obama Administration. The position strengthened her role in politics as a woman and prepared her for another shot at the oval office. Now, she is on the verge of becoming the first female president. But, like Claire, many believe Clinton will do or say anything to appeal to voters.
Now, here are some things that could happen in the elections that occurred in season four of “House of Cards”:
A married couple election ticket
Claire made the case that being Francis’s running mate will attract many votes— especially from women— since she is popular and well liked. Even as a viewer, you’re excited to see an Underwood-Underwood ticket because, well, they’re a compatible team (in the public’s eye) and both equally ruthless.
Hillary Clinton hasn’t announced who her running mate will be yet, and it will remain that way until the Democratic National Convention later this month. Until then, one can only guess the possibilities, and it’s hard not to think of her husband and former president, Bill Clinton as a vice presidential candidate. A Clinton-Clinton ticket would most definitely be a memorable political tag team; although, it is highly unlikely that Hillary will choose Bill as her VP because he would overshadow her presidency.
A contested convention
Everything goes according to plan for the Underwoods as they try to get Claire the VP ticket. That is until Secretary of State Catherine Durant remains with the majority of the VP support from the delegates and even some presidential support. Durant threatens Frank’s campaign when she figures out the Underwoods’ plan to derail her out of the race, but Frank convinces her to instead release her delegates so Claire can get the nomination.
As America prepares for the DNC in a couple of weeks, people are making predictions of what to expect. With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ candidacy status unclear, many believe he’s sticking to his word and taking the fight to the convention. Will he give Hillary a run for her money, or will he finally admit defeat and back her?