With the political circus we’ve all witnessed over the last year, it’s made me think about the Seinfeld gang and what a political episode of the show would be like.
Aside from the season 6 episode “The Couch,” Seinfeld rarely tackled political and social issues head-on, usually preferring to take more of a court jester’s approach to divisive topics by mocking them from the sidelines.
With the show’s immense popularity in both its original run and syndication, the characters have become people we seem to know inside and out. But what exactly would the gang’s political affiliations be and how would they approach the current political climate?
Let’s find out with this fantasy episode I’ll call “The Election.”
Jerry (Apolitical – Undecided/Undetermined)
With Jerry, you might think because he’s a native New Yorker and a stand-up comedian he’d be a true blue liberal, but that’s probably not the case. Considering that he usually distances himself from the pettier squabbles of his gang, he tends to avoid confrontation, and he seemingly has no strong convictions for anything that’s not trivial or silly (Superman, cereal, his no-vomiting streak), it’s more likely he wouldn’t have a set party affiliation.
He’s voted in the past, mostly when he was younger, but usually he doesn’t, characterizing the exercise as like “going drinking on St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone says you have to do it, but it never ends well.”
“The Election” finds Jerry dating a woman who had persuaded him to register for the New York primary and has been since pressuring him to vote for Bernie Sanders. Jerry keeps hoping to find a way out of it, while Elaine, meanwhile, is trying to convince him to support Hillary Clinton, which leads to this exchange:
Though he’s determined to “stay out of it” and try to find a way around his girlfriend’s wishes, Jerry changes his mind only after speaking with Donald Trump at a urinal and Trump fails to include a buffer urinal. “What kind of a monster is he?” Jerry later asks George.
Ultimately, Jerry votes, emerging from the voting booth with both Elaine and the woman he’s dating waiting expectantly, both staring at him. Jerry sees he’s in a no-win situation and awkwardly says, “So where’s my sticker?”
Elaine (Lifelong Democrat – Supports Hillary Clinton)
With Elaine’s feminist beliefs, history of pro-choice support and artistic background, she’s firmly in the Democratic camp. Though she likes aspects of Bernie Sanders’ message, she questions if he’s “vote-worthy” and finds Hillary Clinton to be the more practical choice.
In “The Election,” Elaine struggles to find similar support from her group of friends after Jerry expresses ambivalence and Kramer and George’s choices confuse and irritate her. She finally finds an ally in Mr. Peterman who openly states “I’m with Hillary, Elaine. Are you?”
This proves to be a double-edged sword though, as several conversations with Peterman lead her to question why he’s supporting Clinton, as seen in this excerpt:
Eventually, Elaine is tasked with writing a bio for Peterman in a round-up piece a magazine is running called “Politics in Publishing.” Peterman tells her “you know my views” and leaves her to writing it, though all she can produce is a mangled mess of political buzzwords just short of gibberish.
She sheepishly turns the piece in, which Peterman calls “illuminating,” saying that it “cuts to the very core” of him.
Kramer (Disillusioned With the System – Supports Rand Paul)
Considering Kramer’s mercurial nature, him choosing a conventional candidate would be completely out of character. With hints seen of Kramer’s ‘60s radical days and his willingness to fight against society’s expectations, a libertarian candidate would be right up his alley.
With Rand Paul no longer being in the running, securing him the presidency becomes Kramer’s ridiculous crusade in “The Election.” All of the gang question Kramer on his choice, as seen in this exchange:
The majority of the episode finds Kramer handing out flyers and Chinese knockoff Rand Paul buttons he ordered online, all of which read Rund Pal. He also keeps getting into arguments with the owner of the ice cream store that he’s chosen to set up shop in front of for his “campaign headquarters,” even though Kramer says he’s fighting for small businesses like his.
With few converts and constant opposition from the store owner, Kramer becomes even more disillusioned and eventually turns to a familiar face for help.
George (Social Liberal, Fiscal Conservative – Supports John Kasich)
Perhaps a bit of a curveball here, but if there’s one person George Costanza looks out for, it’s himself. And when you consider that his frank nature doesn’t jibe too well with political correctness, and how he’s “extremely careful with his money,” the choice becomes obvious.
Though he loathes Ted Cruz as much as the rest of the gang (the one thing they do all agree on), he particularly dislikes Trump, characterizing him as “the kind of guy who made you eat worms as a kid.”
In “The Election,” George is ecstatic to find out that since his new boss is invested in politics, he’s giving everyone in the office the day off for the primary. George’s precinct is right across the street from him, so as he tells Jerry, all he has to do is “roll out of bed, vote, then spend the rest of the day watching baseball and eating pears out of the can.”
These plans are compromised, however, when his mother finds out he’ll be off work that day. She guilts him into taking her and his father to their precinct because their car is in the shop and she refuses to take a cab.
His parents, meanwhile, both working class New Yorkers, are straight-ticket Democrats. But since they’re the Costanzas, they are, of course, at odds over Clinton vs. Sanders. George is forced to listen to the back-and-forth all the way from their home to the precinct as seen in this exchange while he drives:
George’s day off becomes a nightmare, though it isn’t quite over yet.
Bania (No Strong Political Affiliation – Supports Bernie Sanders)
Mickey (No Strong Political Affiliation – Supports Hillary Clinton)
Bania’s ready to glom onto anything he sees as a good thing, so he’s become a strong Sanders supporter, saying “I think that guy’s onto something, Jerry.”
Mickey, Kramer’s associate, is usually apolitical but would fear both Trump and Cruz presidencies, making him push hard for Clinton who he sees as the only “reasonable candidate.”
In “The Election,” Jerry comes across both of them at his precinct, and is initially turned off of Sanders once he finds out Bania likes him, then grows unsure about Clinton when Mickey starts screaming at Bania about her qualifications. Jerry eventually exits, saying, “I’m going to check and see if they need help with the stickers.”
Puddy (Blue-collar Worker With a Religious Background – Supports Donald Trump)
Though Puddy could go for either Trump or Cruz, his love of high-fives and plain talk, along with his blind devotion to things that take his interest (consider his New Jersey Devils loyalty), make him Trump all the way.
“The Election” finds him appearing briefly when a desperate Elaine tries to convince him to vote Clinton, prior to talking with Mr. Peterman. When Puddy tells her he’s voting for Trump, the following exchange occurs:
Newman (Pure Evil – Supports Ted Cruz)
As the proverbial outsider, Newman’s not afraid to make an unpopular choice. Like Varys said of Littlefinger in Game of Thrones, “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.” Without a doubt this applies to Newman as well.
Newman’s role in “The Election” is mostly “helping” Kramer with his Rand Paul election efforts, even though he’s forthcoming about his voting intentions. Kramer’s only able to get him to come along by promising “great snacks” and a line of credit at the ice cream store behind them, which Newman readily exploits.
Otherwise, the gang briefly discusses him when Kramer mentions Newman’s allegiance to Ted Cruz:
As the various plotlines play out, we’re left focused on George’s story. He’s returned his parents to their home and, after getting caught in traffic, he’s trying to make it back to his precinct in time to vote.
He gets stopped in front of Trump Tower, however, when a large group of Bernie Sanders supporters holding an anti-Trump rally start spilling onto the street, blocking traffic.
Frustrated from the day’s events, George gets out of his car and charges up to the diverse protestors, screaming at them to “Get out of here!” and “Go home!”
His red-faced ranting attracts the attention of nearby Trump supporters, who slap him on the back and tell him to “Give ‘em hell.” George is horrified as he realizes what’s happening, but the supporters quickly put a “Make America Great Again” hat on him and stick an “All Lives Matter” sign in his hand.
George is nearly a broken man as Tim and Eva, the Nazis from “The Limo” pass, with Tim and George recognizing each other and both saying, “You?”
This leads to our closing moments:
As the credits roll, we find Kramer and Newman sitting in an office facing the camera, with Kramer talking to someone off-screen: