Many Americans are celebrating this weekend as Election Day has finally passed, meaning an end to obnoxious political ads on TV, radio and just about everywhere else. While nothing “exciting” happened this election cycle, many Americans still exercised their right to vote in order to determine the fates of tax levies, state issues and even a few open governor seats. Right now, two comic book TV shows are also dealing with elections. Oliver Queen is running for mayor of Star City in Arrow, while the villainous Theo Galavan just became mayor in Gotham. As shown when Lex Luthor became president in the DC Universe a few years ago, elections can mean very bad things in geek culture, as bad guys often take advantage of the election cycle to do...really bad things. Here’s a look at five of the worst elections/votes to occur in fiction, along with their disastrous consequences:
It’s all Jar Jar Binks’ fault. The hapless Gungan and comic relief for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace inadvertently jumpstarted the reign of the greatest evil the Star Wars galaxy has ever known. After Senator Padme Amidala went into hiding due to a series of assassination attempts, Jar Jar took her place as Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. Unfortunately, Jar Jar didn’t have much experience in politics, leaving him open to manipulation. After Chancellor Palpatine (who, like Jar Jar came from Naboo), hinted that he had a solution to a brewing conflict with the Trade Federation, Jar Jar pushed the Senate to grant the Chancellor emergency powers. One vote later and Palpatine had all the political powers he needed to build the foundation for his new Empire. We don’t know what happened to Jar Jar after the rise of the Empire, but we can hope he met an unpleasant end at the hands of an angry mob of Gungans.
Jason Todd’s Death
After Dick Grayson ditched his green Robin speedo to pursue a solo career as Nightwing, Batman recruited a new scrappy orphan, Jason Todd, to fill the Boy Wonder’s shoes. Unfortunately, fans HATED the new Robin, largely because he had a perceived cockiness and bad attitude. DC decided to see just how much fans hated Todd in 1988, when they revealed that fans could decide Todd’s final fate in “A Death in the Family”. By calling a special 1-900 number, fans could vote if Todd survived a brutal attack at the hands of the Joker. DC received over 10,000 votes over the 36-hour voting period, and decided by a 72 vote margin to kill Jason Todd off. However, DC revealed years later that many of the votes came from a single phone number, casting doubt as to whether the results were valid. Maybe that’s why DC chose to bring Todd back in 2005 as the new Red Hood.
Arrow’s second season introduced a new threat to Starling City: the duplicitous Brother Blood. An alderman from the Glades, Blood pushed for the city to provide relief to the impoverished areas of the city, which had been devastated by Malcolm Merlyn’s earthquake machine. While Team Arrow admired Blood’s dedication to the Starling City, they didn’t realize that Blood was secretly working for Deathstroke, who had a personal grudge against Oliver Queen. While Blood gathered a secret army of Mirikuru powered soldiers in secret, he publicly ran for mayor against Oliver’s mother Moira. Blood won the election, in part because Deathstroke murdered Moira to break Oliver’s spirit. Blood’s election led to Deathstroke leading his Mirakuru army into Starling City unopposed, causing mass terror and destruction. However, Blood’s loyalties ultimately stood with Starling City. After learning Deathstroke planned to level the city, Blood stole a cure to the Mirakuru and delivered it to Team Arrow, shortly before getting cut down by Deathstroke’s lackey, Isabel Rochev.
Kent vs. Luthor
If you read a Superman comic during the early 2000s or watched the Justice League cartoon, you know that Lex Luthor holding political office never turns out well. That’s why Jonathan Kent ran against Lex Luthor for a Kansas senate seat. While Luthor had the money advantage, Kent had Lois Lane as his campaign manager and a blue collar image that appealed to Smallville’s largely farmer working class. After a deranged fan of Lex Luthor tried to kill Jonathan, he revealed to his family that his heart problems were starting to reappear due to the stress of the campaign. After beating Lex in the election, Lionel Luthor (Lex’s father) approached Jonathan and attempted to blackmail him by revealing he knew about Clark’s powers. Jonathan furiously attacked Lionel, which caused Jonathan’s heart to give out. Jonathan passed away just after his family found him. Heartbroken, Martha Kent took her late husband’s seat in the Senate, ironically assisted by Lionel Luthor.
Although the Doctor has faced the Master many times throughout his thirteen regenerations, the closest the Master came to winning was when the wily renegade Time Lord manipulated the political system to become the elected leader of Great Britain. After escaping the Doctor’s clutches and stealing his TARDIS, the Master traveled to the mid-2000s and assumed the identity of Harold Saxon, an up and coming politician. Saxon hid his true nature by creating the Archangel Network, a mind control device that worked using cell phones, which subconsciously caused people (and even the Doctor) to trust him implicitly. Saxon became the England’s Minister of Defense and successfully ran for Prime Minister. After assuming office, Saxon enlisted the help of a future incarnation of humanity called the Toclafane to conquer Earth once and for all. Saxon killed the US President, the British Cabinet and 10% of Earth’s population before the Doctor and his allies finally stopped him. The Doctor managed to reverse most of Saxon’s manipulations to the timestream, but he wasn’t able to save the lives of most of the politicians Saxon had killed during his rise to power. I guess a few politicians’ lives were a small price to pay for the restoration of the timeline.