By Emily Croft, Staff Writer
The Politician is one of the many juicy Netflix originals, and it paints a nasty image of current politics in our nation. While some of the messages the show sends are unfortunately true, they symbolize an unhopeful and pessimistic idea of the future for younger generations of America.
Starring Ben Platt, The Politician was originally released in September of 2019. The series contains two seasons, each equipped with seven or eight episodes that are packed full of drama and political tension.
The viewers’ discretion in the first episode states, “The Politician is a comedy about moxie, ambition and getting what you want at all costs.”
Within the first second of watching, it is clear that the main message of the show is to depict the lengths people will go in politics just to be elected. “Getting what you want at all costs” implies that many of the characters, who represent politicians in America, will selfishly step over anyone to win a seat in government.
As the series continues, you watch Payton Hobart and Astrid step over one another to win the title of Student Body President. This high school election is like no other, as it entails tense debates, running mates and even scandals (no spoilers here).
This idea of gruesome politics is one that is not meant to represent high school elections; rather, it is to represent America and the elections we see every year, especially 2020.
The idea that every vote matters is stressed in the first season especially, as we see candidates fight to persuade students all around their school to vote.
But it’s not the people the candidates are worried about. It’s winning.
It’s analyzing the numbers and the polls to see how many points they’re down in the projected outcomes of the election. It’s about picking a Vice President who is a minority to gain more votes, instead of choosing a Vice President who is qualified and embodies what they want to represent. It’s about fighting for the votes of students because they can vote, instead of caring about the voters as real people.
The hope of the American government caring about the people is embodied through the character River Barkley, who is initially running against Payton for Student Body President.
During a debate in the first episode, he becomes extremely personal with his peers and embraces the struggles of being an American teen in today’s world.
He talks about the importance of mental health. Rather than caring solely about winning, he invests in the people of the school and who they are. Then he (spoiler) tragically commits suicide.
This symbolism shows how the philosophy of investing in the people rather than their vote is dying in our America.
People like Payton and Astrid want to win so badly that they neglect feelings or personal connections with people. How everything seems to be superficial, staged and disappointing. This is how people see the future of America.
While these pessimistic views are a drag in the series, Payton and Astrid speak out on very real politics in America.
River’s suicide in the first episode raises awareness of mental health and gun control, which are stressed to the extremes for the political platform that Payton runs on.
The show sets out to express the growing universal concerns of younger generations in America, even if there are some ideas that not every watcher will agree with.The backlash from the second season of The Politician seems to indicate that there won’t be a third season, but there doesn’t need to be when the writers got their message across: American politics are dirty and unforgiving, whether we care to admit it or not.