As much as geeks love binary, there's something to be said for multiplicity of choice. Thus, as the United States girds itself up for yet another traditional two-party Presidential showdown in November, we give you a ballot box-full of fictional alternatives that—if suddenly made real—would likely wipe the floor with any conventional Republican or Democratic ticket. While we can't vote for them, we can at least buy their campaign merchandise.Let's start with our heavy hitter, Colonial President Laura Roslin. She's got the executive experience, the support of the military—as in, the only Battlestar left in the universe—and she's notoriously tough on Cylons. Running on the Capricorn Ticket, she's got her choice of vice presidential candidates, Admiral William Adama or an Airlock. Adama is a hardliner, but the Airlock has a proven record of executing Cylon infiltrators. Either ticket is sure to carry the support of military hawks, Caprican loyalists, and general anti-cybernetic-lifeform conservatives. Her only real weaknesses may come from concerns over her health (she's a cancer survivor) and the dubious records of her former colonial vice presidents, reformed terrorist Tom Zarek and Cylon collaborator Gaius Baltar. Next up is a duo that needs no introduction: Jean-Luc Picard and William T. Riker. Running on the Federation ticket, this pair represents a strong foreign policy choice for 2008, with Picard's impeccable diplomatic credentials (he was an Arbiter of Succession for the Klingon Empire) and Riker's superb military record (he defeated the first Borg invasion). The chink in Picard/Riker's armor is domestic policy, as both have been out exploring strange new worlds since 1987, and neither has much experience in civilian governance. They also aren't running unopposed in their party primary. The other duo vying for the Federation ticket is an older, wiser throwback to the late 1960s—James Tiberius Kirk and his erstwhile second, Mr. Spock. With a new, revisionist biopic garnering some Hollywood buzz, now's the perfect time for these two to cash in on their Baby Boomer appeal and combine it with some retro-future fondness from Generation X. However, one wonders whether Kirk's womanizing past and not-unblemished military record (he's been demoted to Captain from Admiral) won't catch up to him, especially with the Spock-endorsed movie unearthing all his sordid youthful dalliances. Still, Kirk's sterling equal rights record along with his various military successes should win him friends on both sides of the aisle, and any misgivings about his cavalier attitudes will be counterbalanced by Spock's unvarnished record of logical pragmatism. Conventional wisdom holds that the taller presidential candidate usually wins the election, so the Middle Earth ticket of Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee has a pretty big mountain to climb in the polls. Still, if they could scale Mount Doom, they can probably handle being called out for their height disadvantage. They also have a pretty fair record when it comes to international crises, forming Elven/Dwarven/Human/Hobbit coalitions and refusing to appease Sauron. Additionally, they have many friends in non-proliferation circles after their work in dismantling The One Ring, rather than engaging in an arms race with the forces of Mordor. While he's come under fire as a flip-flopper for defecting from the Jedi to the Sith party, Darth Vader has all the makings of a strong candidate, especially for those that mark security as the primary election concern. Every terrorist "freedom fighter" should be quaking in his boots at the thought of a commander-in-chief that's willing to scour the galaxy, impound consular vessels, choke out his subordinates, blow up planets, and maim his own son to find and defeat his enemies. (They've since reconciled, with Vader publicly offering Luke Skywalker a place on his ticket.) While he earns failing grades from the ACLU for his disdain for privacy and his expansionist view of executive power, Lord Vader is a household name who could prove to be a classic Darkhorse candidate. Of course, Vader has some staunch critics, including his own daughter, who is challenging him for the White House. Senator Leia Organa is running on the upstart Rebellion ticket—and the excitement surrounding her campaign has many asking if America is finally ready for a woman President. She is campaigning on a strong reform platform of returning power to the disenfranchised—a position that some consider ironic given that Organa is a Princess of Alderaan. She and Vader have open clashed in the past over issues of security, diplomatic immunity, and Vader blowing up Alderaan. However, her participation in what some consider "terrorist activities" with the Rebel Alliance make many uneasy. As yet, Organa has not chosen a running mate, but the smart money is on the charismatic Han Solo. For those that tout experience as the most important factor but can't square themselves with Laura Roslin, we offer you another former president, Lex Luthor. Though he was forcibly removed from office by Superman and Batman during his first term, many look back fondly on the Luthor administration, and are willing to give him another (Grover Cleveland-style) non-consecutive shot. His promises of technological advancement, economic prosperity, and crackdowns on illegal (extraterrestrial) aliens have many free market conservatives swooning, despite Luthor's record of corporate corruption and criminal insanity. Luthor's vast wealth will likely allow him to self-finance. Early rumors suggest that Luthor will nominate one of his alternate Earth doppelgangers as a running mate, giving you two Luthors for the price of one. Failing that, the smart money is on Luthor joining forces with his one-time partner, General Zod, who is also mounting a third-party bid for the White House. Despite what Ron Paul supporters would have you believe, the real small-government candidate in this race is Cthulhu, who is running on the Insanity party platform of radically reducing the federal budget by reducing America to rubble. This dark elder god's plan is to ease Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security expenditures by exterminating vast swaths of the population. Similarly, defense spending—the single largest item in the federal budget—can be feasibly reduced, as there is no defense against Cthulhu. He also views a running mate as an unnecessary expense, given that Cthulhu is immortal, immutable, and unknowable. Thus, he cannot die, cannot be impeached, and can never be removed from office. Take that, tax-and-spend liberals! Finally, we have a pair of candidates that promises to "magically" restore our faith in democracy, Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape. Running on the Hogwarts ticket with their catchy campaign slogan, "Accio New President," this pair of mysteriously naturalized former British citizens have captured the hearts of millions, thanks to a glowing multi-volume biography by J.K Rowling. While many cite Barack Obama as the premiere orator in the current field, not even he can match Dumbledore's fatherly demeanor and inspiring rhetoric about "confronting evil." Snape often fades into the background during campaign events, but insiders warn not to underestimate his counter-intelligence credentials. Still, there are questions about this pair, with Rowling divulging details of Dumbledore's past that may irk social conservatives, and Snape's associations with dark arts-dealers.
Now, folks, its' time to decide which geek ticket would reign supreme. And if you vote for Other, you better explain who and why in the comments section.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.