3 TV Presidents I’d rather vote for (and one I wouldn’t)

Laramie Hevland talks TV's best and worst Commanders in Chief

Laramie Hevland
3rd November 2020
Like many Americans, I’ve watched coverage of the US presidential election with a mix of feelings: namely embarrassment, rage, and a strong desire for it to end. Throughout this process I’ve often wondered, could there be a better way? And so, instead of doing anything useful, I turned to the escapism of the television. It turns out that there are Presidents on lots of shows, and some (but not all) are much more appealing options than those we have in real life.

President Jeb Bartlet- The West Wing

Pros: The quick witted and charming President Bartlet would win every debate handily, and listening to his speeches would be a massive relief after four years of Donald Trump’s ramblings. Also, it’s genuinely comforting to see a president, albeit a fake one, who genuinely cares about doing the right thing by the people he serves.

Credit: YouTube, HBO Max

Cons: Throughout his first term in office, Bartlet went to great lengths to hide the fact that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He also tended to support slow, incremental change, so I can hardly see him abolishing ICE or sponsoring the Green New Deal.

Verdict: Jeb Bartlet is basically what the Democrats so badly want Joe Biden to be, a proper statesman. He wouldn’t be my first choice, but he’d have my vote in this election.

President Lisa Simpson- The Simpsons

Pros: The Simpsons famously predicted both Donald Trump’s presidency and that Lisa would be elected after him, tasked with cleaning up the messes he left. She certainly seems smart and capable enough to be up for this challenge. Plus, she’s a fellow vegetarian, so you know she’d have great ecological policy.

Credit: IMDb, Fox

Cons: In her first days in office, Lisa struggled to get her message across without upsetting voters, and needed Bart’s help to avoid a diplomatic disaster.

Verdict: Although she may not be a perfect leader, Lisa Simpson knows what needs to be done and isn’t afraid to do it, and she’s got my vote.

President Leslie Knope- Parks and Recreation

Credit: IMDb, NBC

Pros: She’s Leslie f-ing Knope. As Leslie moves up the ranks from a lowly city employee all the way to the federal government, she never loses her enthusiasm, care, and attention to even the smallest of details. President Knope would turn up on her first day armed with an unbelievable number of color coded binders, ready to whip congress into shape.

Cons: Literally nothing.

Verdict: Knope 2020

President Francis Underwood- House of Cards

Pros: Frank Underwood is certainly motivated, and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

Credit: IMDb, Netflix

Cons: Unfortunately, his methods include bribery, blackmail, and murdering both people and dogs. President Underwood is truly a horrible person to the core (and he’s played by Kevin Spacey).

Verdict: It’s important to remember that fictional characters can be terrible too; and although it may often seem that America has hit rock bottom, there is still some way to go.

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