*****DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS AHEAD
Ryan Murphy shows are guilty pleasures (I mean, who doesn't secretly love Glee). The plot is corny, the humor is witty, and the characters are always eccentric.
So when I found out he had a new show coming to Netflix, I immediately added it to my binge list. His show, The Politician, is a political satire about Payton, (played by Tony-Award winning actor and singer Ben Platt) an ambitious, wealthy student determined to become President of the United States; however, his first step to his plan on becoming POTUS is winning his High School election for Class President.
The show gets pretty dark, but overall, I thought it was funny how dirty they got for a class presidential election (I mean hey, that's how real politics is done. Right)? The point of view of the show was mainly from Payton, and his political opponent Astrid Sloan (played by Bohemian Rhapsody actress Lucy Boynton). But episode 5, The Voter, was very different from the other episodes, but was by far the most realistic episode of the show.
In this episode, the point of view is from an average, middle-class student, Elliot Beachman. In the episode, Payton and Astrid are each trying to strangle up last minute voters by targeting people who haven't made up their minds yet. Elliot could care less though; when his parents ask him about the election, he comments how he has no information about either candidate.
Throughout the day, he gets approached by members of either campaign, encouraging him to go to the polls and encouraging him to vote for their respected candidate. He attends the final political debate and sits in the back on his phone with his friends the entire time. When he's approached at the end of the debate by a poll conductor asking his opinion on the debate he responds, "I don't know. I don't care."
Finding out that he still hasn't made up his mind, Payton approaches him personally to talk about what he wants. After he finishes speaking, Elliot responds with "If I tell you I'll vote for you, will you leave me alone?"
Payton, desperate to get his vote, starts pushing Elliot to share what he wants to see a change in. After he shares his concern with private bathrooms and the high cost of peanut M&Ms, Payton makes a promise to change it. Elliot responds with, "Maybe you will, maybe you won't."
Elliot then somehow makes his way to the polls, only to find a parent arguing with the students running the polls because they won't let a black student vote because she forgot her student ID. The poll-runners argue that if they let students without an ID vote, they'd have students bussed in from other schools to vote in the election. She begins to lecture them on voter suppression. Elliot loses interest and goes home for dinner.
As he's sitting at the table with his family, his parents ask him about the election. The episode cuts off after his final line: "I didn't vote. My vote doesn't matter anyway."
I was pretty surprised how well this episode portrayed how many citizens feel when it comes to elections, politicians, and voting. Many people neglect to pay attention to politicians throughout campaign seasons. They don't watch the debates, research the politician's platforms, and overall, they feel like their voice doesn't matter. Especially after Donald Trump won the election, despite Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote.
Furthermore, when asked why she decided not to vote in the 2016 election, Megan Davis, 31-year-old Rhode Island massage therapist says, "[I never vote}. I feel like my voice doesn't matter. People who suck still are in office, so it doesn't make a difference" (NPR).
Davis makes a fair point, however, if we all think like this, then those people will never get out of office. And when we do get out and vote, we do carry the power to vote people out of office. For example, in the 2016 mid-term election, in Georgia's 6th district, republican Karen Handel lost her seat in the House after losing the election to democrat Lucy McBath.
So yes, sometimes it may not feel like it, but your vote does matter. And as demonstrated in the episode, politicians do care about your vote; Afterall, we're the reason they stay in office.
So, with the 2020 election coming up, don't be an Elliot. Be an accurate participant in YOUR government.
Interview Source: https://www.npr.org/2018/11/03/663709392/why-every...