The Candidate- Movie Review

Kenisha D. Earls Politics in the Movies July 13, 2010 In the movie “The Candidate” I thought that the film was very interesting to me, being a person that has never been interested in politics. I found it interesting even though I am not for sure if this is the way that campaigns are run now. I thought it was nice to see how some candidates may be chosen, especially in this film because he was not expected to win the election. He was not even interested in politics although his father was once governor.

The film showed how the campaign was ran and managed by his advisors. Although not expected to win the election, he somehow surprisingly, pulls it off and when he does, he is left wondering “ What do we do now? ” Bill McKay was a young, handsome, ambitious, married, son of a former governor. Although he grew up having a father as governor, he was not at all interested in politics. He is approached to run for California Senator because of those reasons.

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He has no prior experience but his father’s name. McKay is approached to run for office because there are no well known Democrats candidates willing to run. He agrees to run only after finding out that he could not win and that he was free to say anything he wanted. I am still not quite sure why he decided to run knowing that he had no chance of winning the election. McKay was up against Republican, Crocker Jarmon, who was expected to win the race for Senate.

In the beginning of the race McKay was able to express his beliefs and political views freely because his advising team felt that it didn’t matter what he said because he wasn’t going to win anyway. Once McKay realizes how badly he is losing the race, he decides to change his political views on things. He thinks that this will help him to win more of the votes. While he doesn’t expect to win, he doesn’t want to get blown out either.

He decides that he will do what he has to do in order to gain more votes. I believe at that point in the election, once McKay saw how bad he was losing the race, he started to forget and sway away from what he believed in and stood for. The election then became all about winning more votes for McKay. He was then, from that point on coached by his advising team on what to say or to do as he was told, which was sometimes different from what he actually believed in.

It was interesting to watch Bill McKay transform from the strong, ambitious person that he was in the beginning of the movie to basically being told by Marvin Lucas what to say. The deal between McKay and Lucas changed once McKay started winning. McKay believed that everyone woman should be able to decide on abortion for themselves, he also believed that the government throws everything on the back of the working man.

He wonders will people have more power to shape their lives or will that power be taken away? But towards the end of the campaign a lot of his ideas and things that he stood for are thrown out and replaced with those that appeal to a larger audience of people. I believe that the primary message of the film was about campaign management and how politicians basically sell themselves. It was just very interesting how McKay started out one way but by the end of the movie his message had changed.

It is as if it doesn’t really matter who runs for office or what that person believes in because all of that can change according to what a candidate and his team feels is best to say in order to get votes. McKay had no interest in politics but was basically recruited for his father’s name, whom he in the beginning of the campaign race did not want involved, because he wanted to make it on his own. But by the end of the movie, that had changed as well. McKay realized that people thought that his father had been bsent from his campaign because he was a supporter of Jarmon, rather than the fact that McKay just didn’t want him involved in the campaign. He paid a visit to his father stating his concerns and as a result his father gave a statement and showed more support for his son. I am sure that helped to boost McKay’s popularity among the voters because after all, how would it look and what kind of message would it send if your own father, a former governor wasn’t supporting his son?

It is just amazing to me to see how far and to see the things that politicians are willing to do in order to win, even if that means lying or deceiving the people that they have manage to persuade to vote for them. McKay goes from playing basketball in the streets of the projects, to the beaches of California, to having tea parties with the Senior Citizens club, trying to ensure the vote of these very different groups of people. Probably saying to each group of people what they each wanted to hear.

Sure I know that politicians lie but I didn’t realize to what extent and that their whole campaign could possibly be a lie and not actually what they stand for. It makes me think back to watching one of the Presidential debates on television and also watching different campaign ads. I always wondered about candidates excusing one another of lying or “flip-flopping” their ideas or voting for one thing but saying they believe in another thing.

Watching the movie made me wonder if this is the reason for all of the “flip flopping”, to say whatever appeals to a more larger group of people, to earn more votes? It is sad to think that someone that you believe in is fighting for your rights, beliefs and interests are only making you believe so in order to encourage you to vote for them and that their heart is really not into what they are allegedly standing for. And once in office or elected, all that they were promising is thrown out of the door.

Maybe this is why the film was made, in order to educate or inform naive people like myself about what goes on during a campaign race, how some of the candidates are picked and sometimes molded and shaped into someone they are not but into almost the perfect candidate, whomever the people that are voting would like them to be. I was left wondering if there are or have been any “McKays” out there who would be willing to go through the whole campaign process when in fact, they weren’t even interested at all in becoming elected.

Seems like a tremendous and overwhelming job to take on and your heart is not really in it. But I guess it did give McKay the opportunity, in the beginning when he was allowed to speak his mind, to spread his values by speaking to groups of people. It is just disheartening and upsetting to me to know that politicians are willing to lie just about anything and sell themselves short just to become elected and then to know that to be elected was something they never thought about or even wanted. Hopefully, that part only happens in the movies.

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