Game of Thrones as U.S. Politics

westerosmapofamerica

A few days ago, former Politico CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei, in response to what he saw as a two-party system in American politics that predominately caters to economically comfortable buffoons, proposed that we create a third party. The problem with radical centrist VandeHei’s proposal, is that his third party ideas, in addition to promoting unpopular policies bordering on insanity, would basically create a third major American political party that predominately caters to economically comfortable buffoons.

Despite VandeHei’s insane call for a third party that is very similar to the two we already have, and despite basically calling for an age of an actual American empire, as opposed to a half-hearted attempt at one, the idea of multiple official and unofficial factions and alliances often seen in European parliamentary democracies is appealing and far more interesting to anyone who has studied political science. In honor of “Game of Thrones” sixth season premiere, Carson Starkey and I waxed philosophic on what multiple factions, personalities, and regions would look like if we were comparing American politics to the Kingdoms of Westeros and beyond. Enjoy!

Troy

Dear Lord (of Winterfell) this guy (Jim VandeHei) is crazy. Co-founder of Politico? Of course he is. Radical centrism and irrational appeals to so-called “common sense” is a favorite past time of faux-intellectuals.

Carson

Because “common sense” means dissolving Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and exploiting fear about terrorism.

Troy

He (Jim) is proposing this party be led by Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl “Lean In” Sandberg. Is this a parody?

Carson

At least Eddard Stark didn’t demand war as a first option. We should be comfortable with Zuckerberg. He’s fiscally responsible because he has people like Jim VandeHei vouching for him.

Troy

Robb Stark was a little hasty but Eddard was very cautious and by the book. A true bureaucrat until the end.

Carson

A clear Jimmy Carter analogue.

Troy

Clearly Stannis, with his boring personality, and being more or less disliked by the people, and a weird religion could be Willard Romney.

Carson

Not a problem. Stannis relied on outlier polls.

Troy

Unskewedwesterosipolls.com

Carson

They started an independent firm after the war is resolved. Depending on what the Lannister’s offer for initial capital investment was.

Troy

Renly, had he not been killed, clearly had the love of the people, in his own Kingdom (the “Storm lands”?) anyway. Robb Stark had a certain youthful populist man of action appeal going for awhile.

Carson

Robb was fueled by excessive decency. Too many John Kerry advisors telling him to take the high road.

Troy

The Lannisters are a weird hybrid of the two great American dynasties, Kennedy and Bush.

Carson

“Surely the Freys and the Lannisters would never stoop to such unseemly tactics.”

Troy

It’s pretty clear to me the Iron Born are the state of North Dakota. Delusions of grandeur, etc.

Carson

Definitely. Working class pretensions despite vast mineral wealth. And no real plan for rising in social importance. Because somehow, they’ll supplant the Lannisters, Starks, the Boltons, the Targaryans…

They just don’t have the money, the armies, or the popularity.

Troy

And the North….is Minnesota, the Midwest, or Central Earth. Should have been the leaders probably, but are far too honorable and cautious, lacking in aggression to ever get to the Iron Throne. Humphrey and Mondale are honorable, like Eddard and Robb, but they came out on the losing end.

Carson

Definitely. All reasonable people with decent views about governance, reliance on facts, but constantly hobbled by morons and greedy financiers.

Troy

The North (Midwest) is vast, but incapable of producing a King of Westeros (President).

Carson

At least incapable until they become more ruthless, which may never happen.

Troy

Then there is the middle-class riser story, the dishonorable but ambitious one, Littlefinger, and the honorable one, Varys. Whom do they serve….

Carson

Rising beyond your station, with constant strategizing, and appearing clueless until you spring traps.

Troy

“The Realm. Someone must.”

Carson

I’m hesitant to assign Varys, but I suppose he has a certain respectable, honorable angle. Someone has to think big picture. In no “small” coincidence, I identify heavily with Tyrion. I enjoy being smug and clever. And military service is necessary, but damn…very distasteful, even in defense against Stannis. I got a chance recently to recycle Tyrion’s line. Somebody asked me how I knew about tax increment financing, I said: “That’s what I do. I drink and know things.” It was wasted on a non-fan.

Troy

That’s tough. I suppose I identify the most with Jon Snow if we’re going that angle, but I’m probably more the smug and clever Tyrion-type. But if we’re Tyrions, we should be able to serve Kaleesi, the Mother of Dragons, Hillary Clinton, quite well. Wait…I’m not sure that works.

Carson

I was waiting for that. But I love Daenerys. She’s compassionate, I’d like to assign her to Elizabeth Warren. Liberator of regular people, thoughtful, surrounded by decent advisors. But she does rely on over-the-top violence and death from above fire. Because she does own 3 nuclear weapons (“Dragons”). But we all know the metaphor.

Troy

Right. “Game of Thrones” proves Americans are political and love politics. So everyone should get off their pedestal and take part in this democracy in a way that our founder, Aegon Targaryen intended.

Carson

Absolutely. George Martin wants you to vote nerds.

 

 

 

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