The Republican Field, As Written By Hollywood
Last week, I tweeted this:
@ThomasHCrown Ted Cruz is how a good writer with an ideological blind spot writes a Republican character. Donald Trump is how a hack does.
— Will Truman (@trumwill) March 6, 2016
And now I’m going to expand on it:
Donald Trump is a Republican character as though written by a crappy liberal writer who cannot see Republicans as anything more than caricatures. Ridiculously over the top. The writer needs to go back to writing school.
Ted Cruz is a mastermind villain written by genuinely good writer with an ideological blind spot who assumes that most people who disagree with his worldview are either insanely slimy and corrupt or stupid. The script called for the former, and Ted Cruz was what they created.
Marco Rubio was written by one of the rare breed of conservative Hollywood writers. Unfortunately, the role was entirely miscast and when he changed jobs, subsequent writers just screwed him up.
John Kasich was written by a well-intentioned liberal writer who wanted to create a sympathetic Republican character but just didn’t know how. The result is that the character is wooden and inconsistent.
Jeb Bush was written as the hapless foil the whiz-kids working on the Democratic campaign had to take down in the primary so that they face a weaker opponent. The writers omitted what, exactly, made the character somebody that they didn’t want to face. Because, as written, he seemed like a great character to face in the general.
Ben Carson was suggested as a potential character, but everybody else in the room laughed at it because it was such a ludicrous concept. They told the writer that his character was bad and he should feel bad. And feel bad he did, because the character was stupid.
Chris Christie was written because a mobster show had a political tie. Because they wanted a character who was obnoxious and corrupt, they made sure to let slip that he was a Republican. Writers spent a lot of time coming up with inventive death scenes for the character.
Carly Fiorina was created on the spot, without much forethought. The writers must have needed a Republican character from California because that’s where the show is filmed, and they went with a businessperson because no Republican gets elected to major office in California.
Mike Huckabee was created by a frustrated southern transplant who has some major issues about where he comes from. Another writer kind of resented this, and suggested Rick Santorum instead, but everyone agreed that Pennsylvania is a blue state and that wouldn’t work as well.
Rand Paul was the unfortunate biproduct of a writing room war. A couple of the writers thought that he should be cool and sympathetic, but others couldn’t fathom that in a Republican politician and so would insert plots about Neo-Confederate supporters. The result was a mess, and a character that once had promise had to be written off the show.
Lindsay Graham was written as an embarassing relative of one of the main characters in a comedy. People on Twitter get mad because such a right-wing character is presented as a mildly sympathetic goofball, but others point out that his rightwingery is usually a setup for a joke at his expense.
Scott Walker was written to be the Republican opponent, but the writers never cared so they never fleshed out the character. The writers would later express regret that they never fleshed out the character, though one claims that he came up with the Rick Perry character in the process and decided to use that more interesting character for something that would have a bigger part, but instead it was also used in a series that flopped.
George Pataki was written by an aging writer who stopped following politics 25 years ago and isn’t current on who Republicans are anymore.
Jim Gilmore was only sort of written. There was, presumably, a Republican opponent in the last election, but they never talked about him or developed him. You only know his name is Gilmore because the main character is an officeholder and there is a flashback scene on election night where you see on the vote totals television and the other guy was named “Gilmore.”