Politics and friends don't belong together. Unless you have lots of like-minded friends, or you have friends with whom you can have an intelligent discussion from opposing sides of the aisle without devolving into insults and petty fighting. (Oh wait, isn't that what Congress is supposed to do?)
But this election season, there's one candidate who deserves your vote. Frank Underwood. I mean, come on guys. He'll do anything for America. Just look at his campaign slogan! (SPOILERS AHEAD) Look at the vicious way he pushed Zoe in front of that Metro train. Look at how sneakily he tricked Peter Russo into getting drunk again, and then how cleanly he murdered him and made it look like suicide. LOOK AT ALL THE STALKING HE MADE DOUG DO!
And yet, despite all the terrible things we know he's done, I'd still vote for him. I know he'll go head to head with the tough issues. I know he'll do whatever it takes to get legislation passed, even if it skirts the boundaries of the law (okay, so he doesn't so much skirt as jump right over. Whatever). I know that if I was unemployed and willing to work, I could get a job under AmericaWorks. So what if he stole, sorry, reappropriated funding for the AmWorks trial in DC? He made 50,000 jobs!
Not to mention, his wife just left him! Doesn't the sympathy vote count for anything? Is he going to tell the world that Claire walked out on him? Can he survive without his other half? Aren't they really two equals who feed off each other? Or is Claire right, did he just use her and now he wants to discard her? I CAN'T TAKE THE SUSPENSE!
On the weekend of the GOP debate here in Greenville, SC, in a brilliant marketing/campaign move, Netflix set up their candidate's stage right across from the debate venue. While candidates like Jeb Bush made speeches in Fountain Inn, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump hosted rallies, and some guy drove a Kasich-mobile around town, Underwood's campaign set up shop on Main Street, right next to Grill Marks. People stood in line for the chance to have their picture taken behind the president's desk, complete with a framed photo of the Peachoid and images of Frank and Doug working in the Oval Office. A lucky few were granted access to the VIP lounge where they could sip on alcoholic beverages, use #FU napkins and eat Freddie's BBQ, compliments of the campaign. But what made the campaign even better was that many people in Greenville were unaware of the hit Netflix show. While standing in line to have my own picture taken (#SegalSharp2028 people), I was approached by a man on the street asking me if Underwood was a new candidate entering the race. "Is this where you go to learn about him?" he asked us. As Republican supporters flocked to downtown, Underwood drew a crowd of show fans and non alike. While many chanted "Rubio, Rubio," less invested or potentially undecided voters questioned the new candidate. And while those of us diehard fans begged for #FU2016 gear (they ran out by like, 10am on Saturday, so if you happened to get a t-shirt, I'm offering $20), Frank's newest supporters clamored for a picture of Underwood with the background.
But the true genius of Netflix's marketing ploy had less to do with reminding us that the hit show is returning for season 4 in early March, and more to do with the political circus that was sweeping our quiet town. Between that hashtag installed in front of the Peace Center (#GOPdebate), the frat boys in bow ties, that freaking Kasich mobile doing laps around downtown, and Trump supporters tracking down opponents' political signs and placing his strategically on either side, we were in serious danger of true politics being lost in a spectacle. Netflix saved us. Instead of focusing on Trump and his supremely racist rhetoric, Underwood took center stage downtown. The Netflix pop up received media coverage, a personalized jersey from the Greenville Drive, visitors from Clemson, Furman, and Spartanburg, and more. By taking down the stage during the debate, Netflix ensured we focused on the show pre-debate, and on Trump's extremely offensive comments about former President Bush post-debate (I don't care what your politics are. Insulting former presidents is in poor form).
Underwood was long gone on Sunday morning, but the impression was here to stay. I'm pretty sure half of Greenville's residents are planning on writing in Kevin Spacey's name next weekend, with the provision that he run as Frank Underwood. But I'm also pretty sure that Netflix just ensured that people who may not follow politics or have known that the Republican and Democratic primaries are coming up in South Carolina now know that they are. Oh, and they also know House of Cards comes back in early March.
And really, wouldn't we all do Anything for America? #FU2016