WANT Original Content
By Grace Masback
Recently, Jeb Bush announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, one of 20+ candidates to throw his name into the arena. Although his family name and its dynasty status make him a clear front runner, he will be going up a string of candidates from super conservative hardliners on the lunatic fringe, to libertarian diehards, to RHINOS (Republicans in name only) who actually find some Democratic or liberal policies worth considering. With so many candidates to choose from, the options can seem overwhelming – so WANT is offering a Republican presidential candidate breakdown, complete with a corresponding movie/TV character to make the majority “old white man” field just a tad more relatable. [Note — we took a more straightforward approach to introducing the Democratic field, or potential field, in February: https://wantnewsforteens.com/2015/02/14/2016-election-preview-the-democrats/ ]
Jeb is the latest Bush vying to continue the family dynasty. His liberal policies toward immigration and education reform and bicultural identity help to market him as a more “moderate” Republican — both a blessing and a curse in his increasingly hardlining party. Though he is attempting to step out of the shadow of his father and younger brother, the former Florida Govenor has struggled to distance himself from the Iraq war and some of his brother’s more unpopular policies, not to mention a slight run-in with the world “pedantic.” His moderate positions, sometimes dubious motives, and struggle to distinguish himself make Mad Men protagonist Don Draper Bush’s clear TV counterpart.
Christie is certainly the elephant in the room when it comes to the 2016 presidential race. His blunt, sometimes abrasive stances have led some to question whether he can handle the stress of a presidential run and have already alienated him from party leaders and voters alike. The “Bridgegate Scandal” did little to build his reputation for honesty and integrity. Having just announced his intentions to enter the race, he’s received massive attention for his controversial and intriguing proposals to cut entitlement programs in order to catalyze economic growth. Many say it is his temper that will keep him from the oval office. Given his hot head and sometimes aggressive defense of his ideals, Christie’s TV counterpart can be none other than Gossip Girl’s teenage tycoon, Chuck Bass.
A clear underdog in the presidential race, George Pataki served as the 53rd Governor of New York State. Pataki has never been afraid to defy the boundaries of his own party and many say he adds a socially liberal voice to the race for the GOP nomination — And, he’s the only candidate with the middle name “Elmer.” With a campaign platform ranging from the mundane cutting of taxes to the more inspirational goals of curing cancer and Alzheimer’s within the decade, the former Yale debater is taking the race seriously, even pushing for abortion rights and ending discrimination against gays. Given his intellectual, somewhat underdog demeanor, Pataki’s TV counterpart is clearly Abby Whelan from Scandal.
This junior senator from Texas has already made history by becoming the first Cuban-American to hold a seat in the U.S. Senate. Though he is struggling in the Iowa polls and has not had much success attracting big-time GOP donors, he remains optimistic, looking toward states that vote after the Iowa caucuses, attempting to woo them before other candidates take hold — a move both risky and potentially lucrative. His strong condemnation of gay marriage, abortion rights, and his excited support of the death penalty establish him as a traditional Republican candidate with strong tea party inclinations. His slightly unorthodox background and cutthroat willingness to do anything to get what he wants make House of Card’s Frank Underwood his obvious TV counterpart.
The Republican-allied libertarian is known for his sometimes unconventional political viewpoints and general fearlessness of party authority. His recent 12-hour filibuster of a law to continue funding for the controversial Patriot Act (which allows for NSA surveillance) made him a media sensation and his proposed tax plan would not only cut rates for the wealthy but leave low income families paying a rate close to 0%. The Republican senator hopes that as President he can minimize the role of “big government” and institute programs aimed at benefiting the middle class. For his fearless activism and choices to listen to his gut and conscious over societal pressure, there is no doubt that his TV counterpart is Scandal’s frontwoman, Olivia Pope.
The junior senator from Florida and former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Rubio joins Ted Cruz in the ranks of one of the few Latino U.S. senators. One of the current frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination, Rubio has solidified his support among “Tea Party Voters.” Taking a more traditional Republican stance, Rubio is running on promises of ending government overreach, promoting values of family and faith, and adopting a relatively aggressive stance toward foreign policy. Rubio’s no-nonsense stance toward politics makes Breaking Bad’s Walter White his ideal TV counterpart.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is vying for the Republican nomination with radically different credentials. His African-American heritage will help him appeal to minority voters who have traditionally voted for Democratic candidates, though this does alienate him from some in the Republican base. His strong relation of faith and politics make him both revered and criticized, and his harsh criticism of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in calls for him to present his own comprehensive healthcare solution. Given Carson’s unique background and desire to break outside some of the norms of his party, Once Upon a Time’s Emma Swan is his TV counterpart.
This is not the first time that former Arkansas governor, political pundit, and writer Mike Huckabee has made a run for president. Though he had some moments of popularity, he failed to seize the nomination in 2008 and many believe he will fall victim to the same fate in 2016. His “bible thumping” political views help him to appeal to many Republican hardliners but are less appealing for anyone in the party trying to move it toward more progressive viewpoints (or at least toward the center). His proposals for a school curricula based around the 10 Commandments were met with cutting criticism and he has adopted a strong anti-gun control stance. In the past, he has been a clear supporter environmental protections, criticizing those in his party who deny the existence of climate change, though more recently he has begun to walk back on these statements. For his extreme religious conviction paired with slightly crazed defense of the issues he believes in, his TV personality is clearly Orange is the New Black’s Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett.
Similar to Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum has done the whole “Presidential race thing” before, finishing second to Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. The former Pennsylvania senator received much wrath in his last run for his harsh, somewhat unrelenting criticism of gay marriage. Santorum has consistently denied the existence of climate change, spoken out against a woman’s right to get an abortion, and decried the Supreme Court’s ability to make a decision on gay marriage, stating that such a decision should be made at the state level. For his extreme- less-than-universally-popular beliefs and radical, tone deaf take on Republicanism, his TV counterpart is Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation.
This South Carolina senator is about as Southern as they get, with an accent as thick as country grits flavored with cheese. He has humble beginnings as a pool boy who earned on an 800 on his SAT. Recently, he received some positive press from Democrats and more liberal Republicans in his calls to take down Confederate flags still commonly seen in his home state of South Carolina. Yet, in the wake of the recent massacre in his home state, Graham refused to acknowledge a culture of underlying racism in the community, in the end making comments interpreted by some to be racist. Though in the past Graham has been more of a “free spirit” when it comes to his political views and his willingness to cooperate with Democrats, he has shunned many of his former maverick tendencies. His harsh policies on immigration and gun control do little to define him from the Republican field and his only chance to set himself apart will be a renewed effort at bipartisan compromise. Given his ability to be both an individual and a follower, Lindsey Graham’s TV counterpart is Better Call Saul’s lead man, Saul Goodman.
Former businesswoman and CEO of Hewlett Packard, Carly Fiorina is considered a longshot for the nomination, though she offers a nice relief from the male-dominated field. Many say her tech savvy will give her an edge over the more traditional female canidate Hillary Clinton. Although she has no government experience, supporters hope that her determination and drive acquired from years in Silicon Valley will appeal to voters. Her do or die attitude makes Orange is the New Black’s Piper Chapman her TV counterpart.
Rick Perry was laughed out of the Presidential race in 2012 due to an embarrassing blunder (“oops”) in a nationally televised debate. The former Texas governor is now back with a new persona and a pair of glasses all meant to convince voters that he is a different man than he was four years ago. He has adopted a clear “anti-Obamacare” stance stating “…. a heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all policy does nothing to help health outcomes for Americans.” Other issues for which he has been incredibly vocal include supporting rights of Super PACs and campaign donors as well as limiting gun control. Given his history, Perry has an incredibly small margin for error, meaning if he wants to turn his underdog status into a real chance of receiving the nomination, he must execute his campaign perfectly.. Based on his history of blunders combined with somewhat admirable determination, Perry’s TV counterpart is Shawn Spencer from Psych.
Finally, we have Donald Trump, arguably the biggest joke in the race for the nomination. The billionaire business magnate has loved throwing his hat into the political arena in the past via funding and public endorsement of candidates, but his recent announcement of his candidacy for the 2016 nomination is a whole new level of crazy. Trump is hard to define other than to say that he is “out there” and that he suffered pretty drastic fall-out after making inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants. His candidacy is a joke, but also scary because of the enormous amount of money and power he wields. Given the fact that he has no government experience and is the object of derision, his chances of receiving the nomination are non-existent, but his persona, money, and hair will add another dimension to the campaign season. Donald Trump already is a TV personality and therefore we see no point in assigning him a counterpart.
Phewwwww. I don’t know about you, but we here at WANT are exhausted. Now that you have a rundown of both the Democratic (you don’t remember? Click here to see the article: https://wantnewsforteens.com/2015/02/14/2016-election-preview-the-democrats/) and Republican candidates, all you teens who will be gearing up to vote in 2016 can begin to formulate some opinions about which way you will cast your ballot. In the meantime, stay tuned for WANT’s continued coverage of the 2016 Presidential race.
Jeb Bush, Don Draper, Chris Christie, Chuck Bass, George Pataki, Abby Whelan, Ted Cruz, Frank Underwood, Rand Paul, Olivia Pope, Marco Rubio, Walter White, Ben Carson, Emma Swan, Mike Huckabee, Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, Rick Santorum, Ron Swanson, Lindsey Graham, Saul Goodman, Carly Fiorina, Piper Chapman, Rick Perry, Sean Spencer, and of course Donald Trump