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A Political Analysis of the Movie Swing Vote

August 2, 2008

Alright, so tonight I saw Swing Vote.  I liked it.  Although it had a LOT of swearing (which added some humor at times, but was a little over the top at others), I’d give it a 9 out of 10.

First, we’ll look at how the election could’ve happened (spoiler alert – I eventually get into details, and a few things about the ending).  This is not a map they showed in the movie, I made it myself – it’s a believable hypothetical that adds up to the numbers they give in the movie:

The movie shows a hypothetical race where the Republican, President Andrew “Andy” Boone (Kelsey Grammer – a real Republican), has received 267 Electoral Votes, and the Democrat, Donald Greenleaf (Dennis Hopper), has received 266 Electoral Votes.  New Mexico (5 EVs) is tied, and Bud Johnson (Kevin Costner) has to cast the tie vote (perfect electronic ballots, and his machine was unplugged.  But actually, his daughter tried to vote for him, so he never should’ve voted in the first place, and NM’s EVs would’ve been split with 2.5 going to each, and Boone would’ve won).  Here’s a possible map:

Boone in red, Greenleaf in blue.  New Mexico is tied, and it’s never revealed how Bud votes.

Now, on to the characters:

Don Greenleaf (Dennis Hopper) is essentially McCain as a Democrat.  Here’s some similarities:

  • His slogan is “Greenleaf Express,” similar to the “Straight Talk Express.”
  • In the beginning part, he says something that kinda makes him sound like a senile old man (you have to admit, McCain doesn’t always sound with it).
  • His mannerisms, holding his arms up sometimes when he speaks, and the way he talks, mimics McCain somewhat.
  • He switches from being pro-illegal immigrant to anti-illegal immigrant (and does a HILARIOUS campaign ad against the Republican, showing a bunch of immigrants running across a field).
  • He switches from being pro-choice to pro-life (ok, McCain’s been MOSTLY pro-life, but it still applies).

Martin Fox, Boone’s campaign manager (Stanley Tucci), is Karl Rove.  Here are some similarities:

  • At the beginning, he’s talking about strategies involving getting religious voters out to vote.
  • He’s shown as somewhat of a do-what-we-must-to-win kind of guy.
  • He’s won all 7 elections he’s worked on.
  • He kinda resembles him physically, with the bald head.

President Andrew Boone (Kelsey Grammer) doesn’t resemble anybody in particular, but toward the beginning of the movie, he talks about whoever controls the Nuclear Football as being the most important issue, and talks about the dangers of North Korea.  It portrays him as being a stereotypical Republican War Hawk.  It’s probably the most stereotypical moment in the film.

Both Fox and Art Crumb (Nathan Lane), Greenleaf’s campaign manager, are shown as trying to manipulate Bud Johnson, and having their candidates switch their stances on issues just to get his vote.  It differs from the movie where the politicians are the evil liars, and makes the campaign managers the “bad guys.”  Although both candidates flip-flop on various issues to appeal to Bud, they ultimately turn good and realize what they were doing was wrong, ticking off their campaign managers.

One other stereotype was John Sweeney (George Lopez), the local FOX news reporter, is shown as just wanting to get massive media attention, and FOX is mocked a couple of other times throughout the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  It was fair and balance, and made fun of both sides, and shows them ultimately realizing their wrongs.

The movie never shows how Bud Johnson votes, but that could be a bonus part of the DVD.

So, now that I’ve ruined the plot for you, go out and see it!

Done Rating,

Ranting Republican
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