A Scandal Guide To Trump's Presidency: All The Moments That Foreshadowed The 2016 Election

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Most of the time, we turn to a Shonda Rhimes drama for nail-biting suspense and a cathartic cry. Her worlds are fraught with evil, disaster, and people who like to make their lives extra complicated. Scandal's version of Washington, D.C., for instance, makes the real version seem sane by comparison. Well, it used to, anyway.

Donald Trump supporters and haters alike can't deny that his administration is going to be one unpredictable ride. But those of us who have been watching Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) for years may have a leg up on the rest. No, we're not suggesting that President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), a Republican in name only, is anything like Trump. At least not in the most obvious ways. We're also not just talking about Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry), the oil tycoon who became a thinly veiled stand-in for Trump last season.

But if you look back at the show's first five seasons, you can find parallels to the things we already know about the 45th president, as well as allusions to what could potentially happen in the years to come. It's probably coincidence that Scandal is returning for season 6 just days before the inauguration. But we're going to take it as a sign that our future will be best handled with a giant glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn.

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Season 1, Episode 2: "Dirty Little Secrets"
Ignore story line A, about whether Fitz slept with Paris Amanda Tanner (Liza Weil). Instead, look at how OPA blackmails members of the Senate Judiciary Committee into approving his Supreme Court nominee using the threat of being exposed as clients of a D.C. madam.

Familiar Territory: If Trump's nominees are rushed through the approval process, Scandal fans will be well acquainted with how that's done.
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Season1, Episode 7: "Grant: For The People"
Billy Chambers (Matt Letscher), the vice president's former chief of staff, has gone to the press with an audio recording of the president having sex with someone. First lady Mellie (Bellamy Young) spins the story by claiming she's the woman on the tape, and, by the way, she's pregnant now.

Familiar Territory: A presidential candidate is recorded without his knowledge, but the potentially damning evidence is spun so that the moral outrage dies down almost immediately. Yeah, we know that story.
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Season 2, Episode 3: "Hunting Season"
Truth be told, the video here is mostly just high-quality Olitz action. The relevant dialogue has to do with the NSA's program to spy on citizens, called Thorngate. Sure, during the Obama administration we all learned that the NSA listens in on our phone calls, but in the Scandal universe, they're really watching our every move — and, oh, yeah, other people can hack into Thorngate, so that's safe.

Familiar Territory: Well, we don't yet know how the Trump administration will work on national security, but if they thought Obama wasn't finding enough terrorists, you can bet they're going to step up surveillance.
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Season 2, Episodes 4-7: "Defiance"
As ideal a president as Fitzgerald Grant may seem, he's got some deep ties to Big Oil. His biggest donor is Hollis Doyle, who conspired with Olivia, Cyrus (Jeffrey Perry), Mellie, and Judge Verna Thornton (Debra Mooney) to rig voting machines in Defiance, OH, in Fitz's favor. In exchange, Doyle Energy gets some cushy contracts and the possible approval of an oil pipeline from Canada to Mexico. Quinn's boyfriend, an employee at Cytron, develops the vote-rigging software. Hollis plants a bomb to kill him, framing Quinn (Katie Lowes) for it.

Familiar Territory: Putting aside any conspiracy theories about whether voting machines were hacked by Russia or anyone else to aid Trump's win, there is the undeniable fact that Trump has nominated ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.
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Season 2, Episode 15, "Boom Goes The Dynamite"
Putting aside everything good and honorable about Fitz, he is super creepy when he has his old buddy Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) spy on his ex, Olivia.

Familiar Territory: Here's a president who basically claims ownership over women's bodies.
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Season 2, Episode 17: "Snake In The Garden"
There are a lot of story lines going on at once in this part of season 2, but the one that catches our eye is how the president loses his confidence in his CIA director. He believes the guy is a mole (he's not).

Familiar Territory: Trump's not on the best of terms with the intelligence community at the moment.
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Season 3, Episode 12-14: "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"
Cyrus' journalist husband James (Dan Bucatinsky) chose love and family over being a whistle blower when he found out about Defiance in season 2. After being at the slimy center of a scheme to seduce VP Sally Langston's (Kate Burton) husband, which resulted in Sally murdering said cheating husband, James wants to go back to being a good guy. He spies on Cyrus to leak info to the press. Eventually, that lands him on the wrong side of B613 and Jake's gun. RIP.

Familiar Territory: Not that we think anyone is going to these extremes, but the new administration isn't a huge fan of the press. Trump probably doesn't care much for press secretaries, either, when all he needs is Twitter.
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Season 4, Episode 11: "Where Is The Black Lady?"
Olivia is kidnapped in order to force the president to go to war against West Angola. He complies.

Familiar Territory: Replace Olivia with any Trump business and you've got a real-life president whose true love can be used against him by the right evil minds.
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Season 5, Episode 4: "Dog Whistle Politics"
OPA fights for its fearless leader after she's exposed as the president's mistress. They accuse the media of hurling coded insults at her, a Black woman.

Familiar Territory: The Trump campaign and some of its less mainstream supporters have made dog-whistle politics part of their M.O. from the beginning.
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Season 5, Episode 6: "Get Out Of Jail, Free"
Olivia is all set to marry Fitz in order to get out of testifying at his impeachment hearing when Mellie solves the problem a different way. She lets Papa Pope out of prison in exchange for blackmail goods on every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Familiar Territory: If any of our real-life government officials have skeletons in their closets (or, cough cough, golden showers in their hotel rooms), any hacker has all the power of Eli Pope, only without the need for assassins.
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Season 5, Episode 9: "Baby, It's Cold Outside"
In one of the show's most devastating episodes, Senator Mellie Grant filibusters to prevent the defunding of Planned Parenthood while Olivia withers under her dull first lady duties. Then she misses an event to get an abortion and breaks up with Fitz.

Familiar Territory: The House is doing its darndest to defund PP right now.
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Season 5, Episode 14: "I See You"
Everyone's favorite oil tycoon Hollis makes presidential candidates Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani) and Mellie jump through hoops to court him before he turns around and announces that he's going to run himself.

Familiar Territory: "Hollis Doyle is a joke. No one will take him seriously," Fitz says.
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Season 5, Episode 15: "Pencils Down"
The public thinks Mellie is too fancy and can't relate to her, so Olivia makes her take the "Gettysburger Test," in which she sits down with a family and eats a burger. Only, Mellie gets caught in a lie when she says she used to eat there every Sunday, and the chain is closed on Sundays. Oops.

Familiar Territory: Why is it so easy for the public to believe that a male billionaire is a man of the people when they won't give the same benefit of the doubt to a female politician?
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Season 5, Episode 16: "Buckle Up"
Following conventional wisdom, all three Republican candidates bend over backward to please the governor of Florida, whose endorsement will assure them a primary win in her state.

Familiar Territory: Flying in the face of conventional wisdom, Trump didn't care whether established Republicans endorsed him or not, and he won anyway.
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Season 5, Episode 17: "Trump Card"
With every outrageously racist statement, Hollis just seems to grow more popular. That is until Olivia works her magic and records him admitting that he's saying everything just to dupe the dumb voters of America. Sally Langston airs the tape in front of him, and just like that, he's out of the race.

Familiar Territory: Shonda Rhimes made clear that this episode represented her deepest wishes for the outcome of the 2016 election. It wasn't meant to be.
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