What would happen if the 2024 US Presidential election played out like the last season of Succession?

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Jun 18, 2023 at 09:00 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

We might still be smack bang in the middle of 2023, but before we know it, 2024 will be here and practically overnight we’ll be confronted with one of the most important and anxiety-inducing Presidential elections of the 21st century. Yep, it will be even worse than 2016, if that’s even possible.

It’s not a sure thing that Uncle Joe will secure himself another term in office, and while he’s no diamond in the rough, the political alternatives are even more terrifying. But, considering the fact that I as a British citizen have absolutely zero chance of impacting the results of the election, I thought I’d devote my time to doing something far more productive: imagining how the 2024 US Presidential election would go down if it played out like a season of HBO’s hit series Succession.

Now, while there is of course a part of me that wants to write this article purely so I can keep the internal Succession obsession going, I do also think that season four of the show allowed us to peek behind the capitalist curtain in a way we’ve never been able to before. In episode eight, aptly titled ‘America Decides’, viewers watched the Roy siblings hold the political, social, and cultural fate of the entire nation in their hands—and it was both riveting and absolutely batshit terrifying.

We’ve always known that corporate and business interests influence politics and policy, it’s quite literally a tale as old as time. But watching it play out on screen in such a visceral way, particularly when the stakes were so high (very similar to how it felt in 2016) was really difficult to stomach.

So, if we lived in a universe where the Roys were still in charge and the fate of the US was going to be decided by a family of chaotic and mentally unhinged media titans, plus Tom of course, what exactly might happen?

Because it would be impossible to consider every possible outcome involving every potential candidate, we’re going to focus on the big three: Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Ron DeSantis—with special mentions going to Nikki Haley, Marianne Williamson, and Mike Pence.

The first thing we need to address is, realistically, which candidate would be most appealing to the Roys regarding business growth and the maintenance of media power. If we consider the Roys to be a TV carbon copy of the Murdoch family (a theory that all Succession fans know to be highly accurate and practically confirmed by a number of insider producers), then we’ll know where to start.

One of Richard Murdoch’s most prized possessions has always been the American TV broadcasting channel Fox News. Historically, Fox News has been a very overt conservative channel, platforming some of the most prolific right-leaning broadcasters in TV history. So, it makes perfect sense that for the past six or so years, Fox has championed Republican politicians. Notably, they viciously defended Trump during the run-up to the 2016 elections and continued to support him throughout his time in office.

ATN, Succession’s very own Fox News if you will, would definitely want a piece of Trump’s pie. The former president was always incredibly lax when it came to corporate regulations and so it would make sense for the Roy siblings to favour a candidate who won’t get in the way of their expansive business plans.

DeSantis is known for his tendency to take revenge on corporations and businesses who oppose his political views. I mean, just look at what he did to Disney. And while Trump isn’t known for being a calm head, there’s a chance that his business background might kick in even if the Roys broadcast some damming segments. Although, having said that, when has Trump ever taken the high road? So maybe scratch that last point.

Of course, there’s also cousin Greg to consider. Now, while Greg the egg may not have had a massive say in ATN’s political leaning during election night in episode eight, I can imagine that if he had his stakes in a real-world 2024 electoral race, he’d be hitching his wagon to the candidate who he thought would be most likely to keep his head off the chopping block. And out of the current possible choices, I’d put my money on the fact that Biden has always valued loyalty among his staff and he’s been known to almost exclusively promote from inside his own teams.

There are of course some wild cards on the deck here as well. We’ve got former self-help guru and Democratic candidate Williamson. While she might seem like an unlikely pick, she was previously Oprah’s personal “spiritual advisor,” and from the Roys’ perspective, it’s always nice to have a media mogul like Oprah on board.

Sadly for Pence and Haley, their candidacies are unlikely to have much of an impact on the news cycle, and indeed, their lack of overall charisma and appeal will ultimately see them face a fate much like our beloved Connor Roy. They may have always been interested in politics from a young age, but they’re just not going to cut it this season.

Also, Pence was infamously a former Vice President and so the fact that he’ll not even get a look in next year proves just how boring he really is.

So, there we have it. The world of Succession will always hold a special place in my heart, partially due to my morbid fascination with American politics, and partially due to the fact that I am and forever will be a Shiv stan till I die. But the thing to take away from all this, and something I think they executed brilliantly in episode eight, is that fictional TV isn’t always as make-believe as we’d like it to be. It’s sometimes a very real reflection of our own society, and a pretty spooky peek into what’s actually happening behind those big glass doors.

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