Tywin Lannister, Game of Thrones
Just a little housekeeping — we're sticking to political operatives and elected officials here. Otherwise, King Joffrey would be kicking off this list. Instead, we're talking about his grandfather, Tywin, Westeros' Chief of Staff and one impeccably cruel individual. One might just think of him as heartless and calculating, but that sort of misses the point. Whether he's waging war through attacking civilians or positioning his family through back-room deals, he exemplifies how politics and power shouldn't work. Also, he's got a British accent.
Bob Roberts, Bob Roberts
The brilliance of Tim Robbins' 1992 directorial debut and performance as a millionaire country-music star turned senatorial candidate is how well it presaged the flag-waving, crazy-eyed, me-first, rage-filled spirit of modern politics. But, Roberts, himself isn't just a rabble-rousing jingoistic 1% blowhard — he's practically Satan. Absolutely nothing about this guy is honest, redeeming, or kind. Even his anti-drug charity is a front for C.I.A. drug runners, and he stages his own failed assassination just to get a boost in the polls. God bless 'Mercia.
President Cornelius Snow, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire
We mean, straight up, you know this guy is evil from the moment you see his eyebrows. Just look at them. Evil! But, even if you plucked those things down to a reasonable shape, his maliciousness would shine through. Any politician that, as shown in the scene above, uses the illusion of hope or freedom to curtail both is not only very, very good at his job, he's also incredibly blackhearted. Good work, President Snow.
Senator Bob Rumson, The American President
And, here comes an entry created by the very same scribe who brought us The West Wing. While that show was notably light in the arch-villain department, Aaron Sorkin's earlier romp in the White House, American President, gave us the grouchy, nasty ideologue Senator Bob Rumson. Bespectacled and disagreeable, Rumson tries to upset an entire government by casting aspersions on the president's girlfriend, which is pretty crappy but not evil. The self-righteous glee that actor Richard Dreyfuss taps, however, is. Also, we've heard that Sorkin based this caricature on Donald Rumsfeld, so...
Adenoid Hynkel, The Great Dictator
What can be said of Charlie Chaplin's Herr Hynkel? He's quite specifically Hitler, except he can dance. Judgment: EVIL!
President Greg Stillson, The Dead Zone
Now, we've come to a little fork in the road. Is Martin Sheen's Greg Stillson evil or just insane? Despite the fact that, script-wise, it's clear that this future president only started a thermonuclear war because of a psychotic break, he was portrayed as a silver-tongued devil beforehand. Moreover, the final scene of the film — which we won't reveal here — shows us just how low, selfish, and diabolical he is.
Senator Palpatine, Star Wars
Geez, this guy. Let us tell you about this guy. This guy dawdles around the Galactic Senate pretending to be a kind, soft, old bleeding-heart liberal, when, in actuality, he's starting an entire cosmic war to help usher him into power. When the Senate votes to give him emergency executive control (after he said he didn't want it), he tricks the entire universe into hating the one group of people who could actually save them and declares himself emperor for life. Genocide and an iron-fisted rule follow. This guy.
Once an idealist, Senator Paine represents a different kind of political evil. Slowly, he's given up on defending the people and put special interests first and foremost. Oddly, even though this melodramatic film was made way back in 1939, he's the most realistic of all the characters here. Most politicians in the real world don't start out as condescending villains — it's the political machine itself that makes them that way.
Tracy Flick, Election
Why, Tracy Flick's just an excitable, perhaps overly ambitious, teenager campaigning for student body president. She can't possibly be evil, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Down in the polls and drunk with her yearning for power, Flick tears down her opponent's campaign posters, lies, cheats, and elbows her way through an election the student body doesn't want her to win. In that, she is the perfect representation of an evil politician — someone who wants to win at any cost only for the sake of winning and lies to themselves about it all along the way.
President Skroob, Spaceballs
Okay, it's actually unclear whether Mel Brooks' Skroob is indeed an elected official. But, he's a "president," right? Someone must have voted for this guy (though it's unclear how a politician so inept could get out of the primaries). Lecherous, lying, murderous, and angry, Skroob is so evil he actually tries to vacuum the atmosphere off another planet using a giant robotic maid approximately the size of Manhattan. Inept or not, that's pretty damn evil.