Swing Vote revisited

Swing Vote” is one of my favourite political films, even if it is not in one IMDb list of top films about politics – and the list runs to 210!
Its premise, that the country’s president could be decided by just one vote, was a Hollywood device to explain why the election matters, and of course the contrivance of how it could happen was always ridiculous.
But until this time around, I never realised how ridiculous.
Cos we’re 4 weeks on.  And they’re still counting the votes in some states.  4 weeks.
There are recounts in some states, cos a discrepancy in the pattern of votes cast for absent voters differs between counties that used electronic voting and those who used more traditional methods.
(It’s not all bad – the USA’s effective registration rate of all entitled adults seems higher than the UK’s.)

Swing Vote was trying to boost turnout for 2008 when Obama first stood.
Nothing like that this year – Michael Moore made a pitch for Hillary – but not a drama; no special speeches delivered by top actors (proclaimed for being able to pitch), with memorable dialogue and quotes.
Most of Hollywood’s political efforts are really a sub-genre of a crime thriller.
It kinda hard not to.  A story –
– that has to run 100 minutes, and struggles beyond 240;
– that can only feature so many characters;
– that can somehow be about absolute rights and absolute wrongs;
– that needs quick ways of showing who the baddies are, in a country where the politics can really seem to be about the individual, rather than about the processes.
You need a TV series to so anything deeper. And “The West Wing” had some great speeches. And some great moments.
But its theme of an administration that sought to help the people aim higher looks a bit pale in the light of what’s happened.
Of all the movies, “Men in Black” says it the most crudely.
Something “The American President” tried to show.
Perhaps Hillary needed a speech that could really explain the crisis people were facing.
Perhaps Hollywood was missing this year.
In the meantime, despite all the wider issues covered by “Swing Vote“, the final question in the movie expressed a major political problem best.
We can do better.


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