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The tussle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the US presidential campaign seemed hilarious to most spectators, almost in the way a sitcom is. It was a reminder of the competing campaigns of Leslie Knope and Bobby Newport from Parks and Recreation, a popular American comedy.

The parallels between Hillary Clinton and Leslie Knope are apparent. Both have spent large portions of their lives working for the government, battling for the benefit of the state. Knope’s enthusiasm and love for her city is a major aspect of her optimistic character. She repeatedly declares that she loves her city and never backs down from doing whatever it takes to make it better. In fact, she has a framed photo of Hillary Clinton on her wall of inspirational leaders. Much like Knope, Clinton presented an optimistic front during her campaign. Contrary to her opponent’s campaign slogan, she iterated the notion that America is already great. Both women’s positive campaigns, and their faith in the electorate, are distinct characteristics of their personalities. Furthermore, both Knope and Clinton are clearly the more knowledgeable candidates. In the sitcom, Knope runs an amateur campaign against a professional campaign manager, and while she faces difficulties, she is confident that she will emerge victorious in the debate. This demeanor was also reflected in Clinton’s composed and dignified campaign, with her direct answers to questions on national policies during the presidential debates.

On the other hand, Donald Trump is the mirror image of the simple-minded Bobby Newport, an entitled man who was born into privilege and lives off his father’s money. Both men gain voters on the basis of their fame – Trump, a billionaire hotelier and Newport, the heir to a candy company. They also feed off of the negativity of the crowd, as well as mob mentality. Trump threatens to put Clinton in jail, whereasNewport threatens to shut down his candy factory in the city. Both men contribute nothing of substance in the electoral debates, but instead attempt to get by on their popularity. They are similar in their immaturity and their temperament, only that Newport is comic and Trump is frightening.

In Parks and Recreation, Knope wins the seat on the city council. It is a moment of immense satisfaction, in which the character receives what she deserves, and the audience can heave a sigh of relief that the city is in the hands of someone who truly loves it and aims to selflessly work hard for it. Unfortunately, and scarily, the real-life presidential candidates did not follow in the footsteps of their TV-counterparts. Instead of a well-meaning friendly lady, we now have a xenophobic and bigoted winner.

The American state, once knownforits forward-thinkingand democratic characteristics, has now regressed, effectively nulling the progress made in recent years. Only three years after the historic Supreme Court ruling that legalised nation-wide same-sex marriage, we now have a Vice President who propagates conversion therapy and is openly anti-LGBTQ rights. Trump’s win has not only set back the Americans; as the leader of the most powerful country in the global arena, his win will greatly impact international politics as well. The UN is effectively run by the US, and the US contributes greatly to the growth of the global capitalist economy. With its xenophobic and closed policies, the US will affect the political scenarios of countries all around the world, especially those that are in close interaction with it, and those that depend on it for trade and aid.

The mob mentality inspired by Trump in the US is reflective of the growth of right-wing politics across continents. For instance, Austria, a liberal European nation known for equality and freedom recently narrowly avoided a right-wing leader coming to power. In India itself, the saffron wave has been spreading for the past few years. Having Trump at the helm of international politics could well impact the mindset of not only diverse leaders, but also diverse populations. Only time will tell whether US politics will in fact end up as unexpected as a sitcom.



Image Caption: The city council debate in Parks and Recreation

Image Credits: The Hofstra Chronicle


Image Caption: The presidential debate

Image Credits: Verge Campus



Vineeta Rana

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An enthusiastic Ravenclaw, Vineeta is a keen learner and does not shy away from expressing her opinions. Her passion for discussion around gender and sexuality is only matched by her passion for French fries and naps. To chat about these or just to say hi, email her at [email protected].

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