Cast your vote: Who are the best – and worst – fictional politicians?

leia-carrie-fisher-2Although U.S. voters won’t actually cast their ballots until November, election season is (for better or worse) already in full swing. Since politics are on many peoples’ minds, I thought it might be fun to put together a list with some of my favorite good — and not-so-good — fictional politicians from movies and TV. I’d also love to hear about fictional politicians you’d like to vote into — or out of — office.

THE GOOD

1. President James Marshall from “Air Force One”

The bad guys learn — the hard way — that they really shouldn’t mess with President James Marshall. After Air Force One is hijacked by terrorists, Marshall (played by Harrison Ford) orders his staff back in D.C. not to negotiate with the terrorists and personally fights to regain control of the aircraft. With nerves of steel and a willingness to lead from the front lines, President Marshall would totally have my vote.

2. President Thomas J. Whitmore from “Independence Day”

When the United States has to defend itself from an alien invasion, it’s in good hands with President Thomas J. Whitmore (played by Bill Pullman). Whitmore doesn’t just give inspiring speeches (although he is pretty good at that) — he actually pilots one of the fighter jets targeting the alien ships. He’s an awesome commander-in-chief, if you ask me.

3. Princess Leia from “Star Wars”

If Princess Leia filled out a résumé, it would be pretty impressive: member of the Senate, leader in the Rebel Alliance, and later a general. Leia leads with conviction, intelligence, and grace, and she’s also pretty good at firing off sharp retorts when the situation calls for it. She’s willing to sacrifice everything she has for the people she serves.

4. Kingsley Shacklebolt from “Harry Potter”

Apparently, politics in the wizarding world are just as messy as politics are for us Muggles. There have been some pretty awful (and downright evil) leaders of the Ministry of Magic, but as the new Minister of Magic, Shacklebolt helps to reform the organization after the downfall of Voldemort. Shacklebolt doesn’t get a lot of screen time in the Harry Potter movies, but he serves a pretty important role in the plot, helping Harry and his friends to escape from the Death Eaters several times.

5. Moira Queen from “Arrow”

Mayoral candidate Moira Queen didn’t start off as a hero on the “Arrow” television series. In fact, she was actually part of a plot to destroy part of the city, although she later turned herself in and confessed her role in the project. Always a complicated character, Queen may not have been perfect, but she does deeply love her children and tries to do the right thing in the end. I was sad when she died in season two; I think she would have made an interesting mayor of Starling City.

THE BAD

1. Emperor Palpatine from “Star Wars”

From his humble beginnings as a Naboo Senator, Palpatine manages to single-handedly destroy the Republic and turn it into an Empire. He’s really good at pretending to be a humble public servant, but he really just craves power and will do anything to get it. He also seduces Anakin Skywalker to the dark side and brings down the Jedi Order. NOT a nice guy.

2. President Snow from “The Hunger Games”

He’s just as evil as Palpatine and might be even more awful, if that’s even possible. President Snow presides over a post-apocalyptic society that sends youth to fight in a televised death match as punishment for a failed uprising years ago. Although he strikes fear in the heart of the people he rules over, he feels threatened by the “girl on fire,” Katniss Everdeen.

3. Harold Saxon from “Doctor Who”

He may have convinced everyone in the U.K. to vote for him, but Prime Minister Harold Saxon is hiding a dangerous secret: he’s actually the Master, the Doctor’s long-time arch nemesis. He ends up enslaving the planet but thankfully is defeated by the human wife he tried to deceive.

4. Regina Mills from “Once Upon a Time”

During the time she serves as the mayor of Storybrooke, Regina is a pretty bad person. Actually, she’s literally the Evil Queen. She abuses her mayoral powers and is bent on ruining Snow White’s happily ever after. Thankfully, Regina’s character arc doesn’t mirror the fate of most fairy tale villains; she turns away from her dark past and becomes a hero. Repentant Regina would actually make a pretty good mayor, I think.

5. The President of the Galaxy from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

I love Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy. I really do. But he’d make a pretty terrible president in real life. He doesn’t seem to have any relevant life experience that would make him a good politician and is generally clueless for most of the film. This is, after all, a man whose brain is fueled by lemons.

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4 thoughts on “Cast your vote: Who are the best – and worst – fictional politicians?

    • As a whole, I haven’t watched a lot of political films or TV shows, actually. For this list I ended up picking characters from films that aren’t necessarily about politics. Actually, I probably should have titled this post “My favorite best and worst politicians from sci-fi.” 😉

  1. I would like to issue a challenge to the inclusion of Palpatine on the list of “bad,” as evidenced by this article that I found supremely entertaining.
    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-reasons-luke-shouldve-joined-dark-side/
    But I know you like Darth Vader, so we might be on the same page after all. 😉 It might also have something to do with my INTJ Myers-Briggs personality type (aka The Mastermind), which Palpatine is the Star Wars equivalent of. Leia gets my second vote, since she’s my extroverted equivalent.

    I like the inclusion of Moira as a complicated character. She reminds me of Narcissa Malfoy, who made my list of Top 5 Moms in literature, which you can read now that you’ve finished Harry Potter. 🙂
    https://bookfreakout.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/t5w-mother-units/

    • Actually, Palpatine was pretty great/successful at being a villain, I must admit. If Luke hadn’t come along to turn Darth Vader to the light, he probably would have gone on being the Emperor for many years to come. 😉 I always tell people Han Solo is my favorite Star Wars character, but I think deep down everybody knows it’s really Darth Vader. 😉 I found this Star Wars Myers-Briggs personality chart, which is pretty fun: http://geekologie.com/image.php?path=/2013/12/09/star-wars-myers-briggs-readable.jpg I’m an INFJ, but Luke Skywalker seems like a closer fit, at least on this chart. Interestingly, as an ESTJ, Darth Vader is my complete opposite on that chart! 😉 ha ha

      I like the comparison of Moira and Narcissa; I hadn’t thought about that, but it definitely fits. Neither are blameless, but they are willing to risk anything to keep their children safe.

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