Well, the polls are in. And Darth Vader is the unofficial 2016 front-runner. All he has to do is
throw his hat in the ring throw his helmet in the ring keep his helmet on so he can breathe and announce his candidacy, and the race is his! First, FiveThirtyEight conducted a poll to find the approval ratings of “Star Wars” characters. And then The Post’s Wonkblog contrasted those findings with the popularity ratings of likely presidential candidates — and found that Vader was ahead of all of them, from Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee to Rick Santorum and Elizabeth Warren. (So, for that matter, was Boba Fett, although Clinton and the Mandalorian-armored bounty hunter were neck and neck.)
It’s time we took stock of a Vader candidacy.
His first priority would have to be deciding what party to run with. It is probable that he is a Republican — during the George W. Bush era, Dick Cheney and Vader’s mentor, Emperor Palpatine, were frequently associated, at least on bumper stickers — and he is an older white male with what colleagues describe as a “sad devotion” to an “ancient religion.” However, he is also an alien who left his single-parent, female-headed household in the company of hippie strangers to seek a better life on a new planet before turning 18, any element of which the Republican Party might frown on. And he never wields a firearm. And once he built a gay robot.
He has yet to publish a memoir, either a tell-all or a Clinton-style tell-nothing. His working title, “Dreams From Luke’s Father,” seems promising, though. He is active on Twitter, under several accounts. Literally all his tweets are gaffes, if viewed from the perspective of someone running for public office. There is no Vader SuperPAC, although he is strongly supported by a Superstar Destroyer and has a strong track record of taking direction from sinister behind-the-throne figures. So it’s only a matter of time.
His policy positions are difficult to suss out.
He doesn’t seem to care much about the environment, but then again, at least when he destroys a planet, he does it efficiently in a few seconds, instead of taking thousands of years like we do.
Also unclear are his stances are on energy. He does believe in a mystical energy field that surrounds and penetrates all things, and one time he took over a gas mining colony. But then again, he did institute a carbon freeze where Han Solo was concerned, and that sounds perilously like a cap on emissions.
Other than that:
Things we know he hates:
• sand (it gets everywhere)
• probably anything sand-related as long as we’re extrapolating here — glass? No documented instances of violence toward glass, but it seems like the next step. Unclear how he feels about silicon or very small rocks.
• construction projects that are not completed on time
Things he finds disturbing:
• lack of faith
Things he finds impressive:
• when you control your fear because Obi Wan has taught you well
These don’t seem like they have immediate policy implications, though. Vader seems like he’d be an advocate of early childhood education, but on the other hand, maybe his own experience soured him on it.
He is known for devoting lots of company resources to personal hobbies and projects, and at one point dedicated a large portion of the Imperial starfleet to trying to find his college-age son, which seems like a pretty clear waste of resources, but no worse than what Chris Christie did to that bridge.
One guarantee of a Vader presidency: It would revitalize the space program. Interstellar travel matters more to Vader than the moon did to Newt Gingrich. And that’s saying something.
For years, we have been petitioning the White House to build us a Death Star. But the Obama White House wouldn’t do it. The Vader White House absolutely would. It would build several, in fact, especially if anything went wrong with the first one, especially if it were destroyed by rebel forces, and bigger each time, with more obvious security loopholes. If the Empire had built the Titanic, they would have responded to its sinking by constructing another one three times the size with a big hole in the bottom already.
Sure, he’s a fictional character. But some of our best presidents were fictional characters. Josiah Bartlet! And Abraham Lincoln, who slew all those vampires.
And there will be questions. “Is Jar Jar really gone?” “Are more children going to come out of the woodwork?” But I’m confident he can handle these questions, either by answering them or by force-choking whoever is asking them to a gurgling death.
In a word: RUN!
Maybe I can show up at a few conventions with a RUN VADER RUN sign and we can generate enough steam for several thinkpieces. (Hey, we did it for Elizabeth Warren. It seems only fair.)