As The Politician intro sequence makes clear, there are many parts that go into making Payton (Ben Platt), all carefully curated by the student himself: Patriotic school pins in one compartment, prescription drugs in another. However, his actual success (although that term is debatable) in the St. Sebastian High School election and beyond is constructed almost entirely by the characters in his orbit. Alice (Julia Schlaepfer), McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss), James (Theo Germaine), Infinity (Zoey Deutch), Skye (Rahne Jones), and even nemesis Astrid (Lucy Boynton) individually inform, supplement, and challenge Payton’s image creating the ideal candidate. It would not be wrong to say — and this is especially true by the end of season 1 — that Payton doesn’t have what it takes by himself to make a convincing case for his presidency, yet we see his entire campaign team, as well as former enemies, abandon their adult lives to return to their down-and-out former candidate ahead of season 2. Despite their arguably superior knowledge and perspectives, their political dreams rest solely on Payton.
They have stellar GPAs and are ruthlessly bloodthirsty, but the show’s creator Ryan Murphy never gives these six characters a chance to fully pursue their own political ambitions that you know they so desire — so we did.
This isn’t shade to Murphy, who knows full well that a story about 20 people running in the same election would be, well, a little too close to reality. The same way a horror movie wouldn’t be compelling if that character didn’t go in there, The Politician’s story is best served with one person as the flawed leader. The cast agrees, but they were still game to imagine their own character's hypothetical political future when Refinery29 sat down with them in New York City. Schlaepfer, Dreyfuss, Germaine, Deutch, Jones, and Boynton all offered original slogans, and we did the rest.
Since there are reportedly four more seasons of The Politician ahead of us, this leaves ample room for a change in the narrative, and I firmly believe one of these supporting characters deserves your vote.
McAfee Westbrook, “Kill The Spare”
A vocal feminist, McAfee Westbrook is the leader St. Sebastian needs and will get whether they like it or not. There is literally no other reality that exists in which she doesn’t take the vote by a landslide. Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits have nothing on her vibrant ensembles, which is not the point of electing a female leader, but if it will convince you, then by all means follow that feeling all the way to the polls.
James Sullivan, “Stop Fucking Around”
Frankly, stopping to read this campaign description is already a waste of James’ time. Politics are about instinct, and James does not hesitate when it comes to making decisions. He’s not going to pander to voters or win you over with an emotional story. Instead, here are the cold hard facts: James is the one for this job, and if you don’t realize it then that’s actually sad for you.
Alice Charles, “Listen To Everything I Say”
Alice Charles is whatever woman you want her to be. She can be stoic, composed, and languid in her speech, or just a 17-year-old girl you want to look at puppies on Instagram with. It’s never certain which side you’re going to get, but both are effective in procuring the wants and needs for the students of St. Sebastian. She would literally leave her wedding for you.
Skye Leighton, “No Time For The Bullshit”
The choice is simple: You can be on the side of progress or against it. Skye Leighton would — will — be St. Sebastian’s first Black, gender nonconforming president, and a voice like that is long overdue in the high school’s higher office. The rich, white, male president is a myth, and Skye’s candidacy is proof of progress.
Astrid Sloan, “Just: Astrid.”
Astrid Sloan does not want to be here, but somehow found herself in this race. She’s not going to fight for your vote, which makes her the most appealing candidate in a sea of aggressive wannabees. Also, her boyfriend died, remember? He moved an entire student body with a vulnerable speech at the debate? Feels weird for you to not honor his memory.
Infinity Jackson, “Macaroons For Everyone”
A vote for Infinity is a vote for freedom. Wouldn’t a world filled with sweet treats, amusement parks, and unlimited breadsticks be wonderful? What if that world was inside the halls of St. Sebastian? You know Infinity’s story. Now help her write a new chapter as your student body president.