House of Cards hit Netflix a few years ago as a pitch black drama about the lengths that politicians will go to to achieve and maintain power. At the center of the show were the Underwoods, Francis and Clare, who would stop at nothing to advance their own interests and kill anyone who got in their way. The fifth season is premiering May 30th and promises even more intrigue, subterfuge, and an attempt by the Underwoods to essentially create their own personal dynasty in America. Since November, though, it seems like the Underwoods aren’t as scary. There are an awful lot of “pros” to Francis Underwood as a President that were not as obvious before, when qualified people were running the country and we expected that to continue, and even his “cons” are looking less and less objectionable. Hell, with the help of Pete Souza, he’s even LOOKING more Presidential:
Let’s also consider the following:
— Francis Underwood had a fairly long and distinguished career as a Congressman from South Carolina prior to ascending to the Presidency. He was the whip, even, so he had a long political career that required him to understand the intricacies of the Legislative branch and work with it in order to achieve his goals. And this is a career he built from the ground up. While Clare came from money, Francis did work himself up to the highest seat of government through his own ingenuity and hard work.
— His attitude toward the American people overall is benignly patronizing, but still protective. After all, Francis Underwood doesn’t get the shining legacy he dreams of without improving the lives of Americans, and this is something that both he and his wife are very aware of. His big keystone legislation as President was not to take healthcare away from millions of people, which appears to be the wet dream of Paul Ryan and something Trump is basically disinterested in, but to fund a national jobs program. Hard to argue with that, at least under current circumstances.
— While he has literally killed people with his own two hands, he does actually put in the work himself for the most part. He’s not some coddled man-child who expects everyone else to work hard to make his life comfortable.
— Francis Underwood is smart. I did not realize how much this would bother me, but TV and movies have always assured me that people who carry out vast, treasonous conspiracies are incredibly smart and manipulating the system because they realize they know so much that us normies simply cannot accurately grasp their plans. This would still be awful, of course, but seeing how fucking DUMB everyone involved in this conspiracy and cover-up actually is has been deeply upsetting. I’ve known kindergartners who were better liars than Trump. I WAS a kindergartner who was a better liar than Trump.
— He has no interest in cooperation with the Russians. In fact, his wife intentionally antagonizes the Russian Prime Minister over the imprisonment and death of an American gay rights activist. This was maybe not the best plan! But it is one that I find morally superior to the attitude of the current administration.
— He was actually willing to resign at one point when it seemed that his schemes had grown too big and he was likely to be implicated in serious crimes. It was a show of self-awareness and humility the likes of which Trump seems physically and mentally incapable.
Robin Wright has admitted that they are having trouble thinking of ideas for the show and I’m not surprised. All these years we thought our democracy would be destroyed by evil geniuses, and instead it’s a man who couldn’t even make money running a casino, a business where people LITERALLY HAND YOU THEIR MONEY AND KEEP HANDING IT TO YOU UNTIL THEY HAVE NO MORE MONEY AND THEN THEY WALK AWAY. But, with House of Cards coming back next week, we will at least have an escapist fantasy where smart people are still running things. Terrifying smart people, like sharks that somehow learned to wear restrained suits, but somehow that’s still more reassuring than what’s currently happening.