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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Editorial: 5 Fictional Political Candidates We Can Believe In.

Editorial: 5 Fictional Political Candidates 
We Can Believe In.

So, with a potentially disastrous US election looming (just two months, guys), and with the UK now having a brand new prime minister (and the possibility of a snap general election around the corner), it's a good time to talk about politics, and political candidates.

To that end, here are five fictional characters who, as political candidates, would be pretty good. Or, well, they'd be better than Donald Trump, at the very least.

Vivienne, Madame de Fer.

Vivienne has an undeniably strong political record. 

Despite being in the socially disadvantageous position of being a Circle mage in Thedas, Vivienne used her cunning, political acumen, charm, and wisdom to climb the ranks until she was not only First Enchanter of Montsimmard (a position she gained at a young enough age to cause a scandal), but also Court Enchanter to Orlais' Empress -- a position she turned into one of genuine power despite the fact that it had been little more than a court jester beforehand, and despite Orlais' laws against mages holding political power.

No matter how you look at it, Vivienne is a masterful politician, and it's even possible to have her become the first mage Divine if you play your cards right.

Her policies also aren't terrible: While she supports the Circle system, she is openly in favour of reforming it into a system that grants mages more autonomy and power, and is distrustful of the Templars. Ultimately, Vivienne is a pragmatist, whose primary interest is in stability. That's not always what you want from a political leader, but it's certainly not a terrible starting point.

Aldrich, Saint of the Deep.

Okay, okay, hear me out on this one.

I understand that at first, Aldrich must seem like a single-issue candidate, wherein that issue is 'inflicting unspeakable horrors on the world and plunging it into an age of darkness and grotesque gluttony' but you have to admit this: The guy has charisma.

More than maybe any other character in the Dark Souls universe, Aldrich's followers are devoted and efficient. It takes a special kind of leader to instill such devotion in his followers that they gather in droves to worship at his coffin, even when he isn't in it, and it speaks well of his skill and efficiency as a leader that not only does he rule Anor Londo and Irithyll, but you can also find his servants in the Undead Settlement (evangelists who have converted other undead, no less!) and Lothric itself.

For a guy who doesn't speak, and who seems primarily interested in eating things, Aldrich has pretty impressive leadership credentials. Besides, since he can apparently steal any ability he dreams of, he could always just settle down somewhere and dream of Gladstone or something if he needs help with the economy.


Okay, I will grant you that some might see Monokuma's odd proclivity for making teenagers kill each other and then engage in sham trials as a downside, but I prefer to see the silver lining: The bear clearly understands the legal system, not to mention how to legislate (what with all those rules he keeps creating for his games).

More importantly, Monokuma never (or very rarely, at least) breaks his own rules. It would be fair to say that he would be the most ethical, incorruptible world leader in history, even if his regime would also be a chaotic, murderous nightmare from which the only escape is a swift death.

Not to mention, Monokuma clearly understands infrastructure. He's able to transform innocuous buildings into vast, labyrinthine death game arenas; create expensive and luxurious punishments; make sure that a group of people are continually supplied with food, clothing, hot water, and every other amenity they could need, apparently all on his own. He does this despite not having any opposable thumbs.

For that kind of skill and efficiency, isn't it worth putting up with the occasional Senatorial Mutual Killing Game?

Kathryn Janeway.

Janeway basically already is the leader of a small country. When the USS Voyager gets thrown into the Delta Quadrant, with no way to contact the Federation (although it acquires ways to talk to them later on), it functionally becomes its own micro-nation (its crew was apparently about a hundred and forty people) under Janeway's rule.

She does a great job, too. Admittedly, things are smoothed over slightly by the fact that the replicators still supply an endless stream of food and other amenities, but that boon is more than counterbalanced by the fact that there are Borg literally everywhere in the Delta Quadrant. She even manages to reconcile the Federation crew members with several new additions from the Marquis, virulently anti-Federation rebels, in what can't have been an easy integration.

It's a difficult situation that Janeway admirably makes the best of, showcasing both excellent military leadership and excellent governance skills. She might struggle slightly on matters of economy, being from a post-scarcity world, but she's a well-read, intelligent person and would get up to speed pretty quickly. Also, as a scientist, she would put a lot of funding into sciences, and that's always nice.

GLaDOS (suggested by tumblr user momoluv147).

GLaDOS is an interesting one to consider, as in many ways, she has the same advantages as Monokuma. She understands infrastructure, and she does at least have something resembling a code of ethics, even if that code is based mostly in a combination of overzealous mad science and sheer, unrelenting spite.

But nobody can deny that GLaDOS would make an erudite, thoughtful leader -- she is a supercomputer, after all, who can probably learn everything there is to know about governance, economics, and international affairs in a few seconds.

It's just that it's entirely possible nobody will survive very long, that's all. In fairness, Monokuma and Aldrich aren't much better in that regard.

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