Review: Presidential election makes for enthralling television

Despite+a+clear+amount+of+fan+backlash+for+both+characters%2C+the+riveting+final+episodes+centered+around+the+boisterous+Donald+J.+Trump+and+calculating+yet+passionate+Hillary+Clinton.+

Despite a clear amount of fan backlash for both characters, the riveting final episodes centered around the boisterous Donald J. Trump and calculating yet passionate Hillary Clinton.

After over 18 months of campaigning, debating and name-calling, the 56th U.S. presidential election had its season finale Nov. 8, 2016. It has been a whirlwind of a season, with twists and turns aplenty along the way. The writing this time was dodgy and at some points made no sense, but still somehow made for terrific television. Despite the ending that left many fans, including myself, quite distraught, the election was riveting to say the least.

The season got an exceptionally early start this time around with the two major parties boasting a total candidate number of 20 before 2016 had even begun. This oversaturation made it difficult to care about any one candidate, especially on the Republican team. Poll numbers and policies shifted every week, it seemed, so many characters ended up getting lost in the shuffle. The Ben Carson lead was an interesting aside and made for some humorous segments, but ultimately it resulted in nothing for his campaign or the race as a whole. The Republican team ended up being more of a source of comic relief for some time, Marco Rubio’s hilariously redundant dialogue and Ted Cruz’s insane fan theories being the highlights.

The Democratic team had only five members, though only two of them had any fighting chance. Martin O’Malley was charming and all, but he was written so poorly and incorporated so little into the daily segments that he was swiftly forgotten as the primary round began. The old up-and-comer Bernie Sanders was a “sleeper hit” candidate, as it were, going further than many fans ever foresaw. His underdog gimmick was endearing and he made for a candidate that lots of viewers could get behind. However, he was unfairly overshadowed by the writers’ clear favorite, Hillary Clinton.

Vt. Senator Bernie Sanders became an early sweetheart in the race, but his lack of "the right look" and some clear biases from the writer's kept him from getting proper screen time.
Vt. Senator Bernie Sanders quickly became a sweetheart in the race, but his lack of “the right look” and some clear biases from the writers kept him from getting proper screen time.

Clinton did not have the charismatic appeal that her opponents had. She came off as overly sterile and almost robotic on the Debate specials, trying to make jokes that came off as awkward and pandering. Her performance was not terrific, but her policies were the main aspect that captivated the audience. Sanders’ loss was aggravating to many fans, but she was able to rally many of them back with her promises. That said, she lost a crucial segment of the audience as she persecuted her opponents’ supporters and ignored the Rust Belt demographic.

Then there was the Republican frontrunner, a surprise in and of himself, Donald Trump. Many people criticized Trump for being too unrealistic and unbelievable as a character; however, I would argue that is was these qualities that made him so fascinating. His obliviousness to the progress of the 21st century and total lack of self-awareness made his a story that I for one believe can be developed into a modern day tragedy. His policies were worrisome, which made some of his comedic banter difficult to laugh at. His prejudices at many points were plain poor taste and made me question the decisions of the writers in pushing the man so much. His omission of facts, I know, lost a good portion of fans and he lost the millennial demographic almost entirely.

So, the writing was shoddy, the characters unrealistic and poorly selected, and the fan backlash alarming. But, come finale night last Tuesday, we were hit with what could be the swerve of the century. Despite fan polls and projections saying other wise, Donald J. Trump won. After a season of mistakes, the writers knew the only option to punctuate such an extraordinary season was to give the fans a colossal twist. Will it work out? Will the writers be able to capitalize on it? Will Trump’s character develop or stagnate? Well, despite my dissatisfaction with the conclusion, I’ll be tuning in regularly and will be ready to take action against the producers if they take it a step too far. After all of this, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for season 57.

 

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All photos, courtesy of Michael Vadon, licensed freely under Creative Commons.