How 'South Park' Has Covered Every Election Since 2000

No candidate is spared the show’s wrath
How 'South Park' Has Covered Every Election Since 2000

When President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump square off in the general election later this year, how many South Park fans will skip the polling booth because they don’t want to “choose between a douche and a turd”?

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have long avoided political affiliation beyond the vague label assigned to them as “libertarian-adjacent.” However, during every election cycle that’s happened since the debut of South Park in 1997, Parker and Stone have chimed in with their iconoclastic, satirical take on the candidates and the competition between them for the most important job in the world. Sometimes, the election episode is allegorical, as was the case in the aforementioned “Douche and Turd” episode. In other instances, South Park characters are active competitors in the race — see the unfortunately ill-prepared President Garrison arc. But in every such election plot line, Parker and Stone avoid putting all their support behind a single candidate and choose instead to mock every participant from the sidelines.

Here are all the major South Park presidential election plot lines, starting with….

Bush v. Gore Becomes Ike v. Fillmore

The real story of how the courts decided the 2000 election is much, much more complicated than the kindergarteners’ process for picking Ike Broflovski as their class president, but there’s probably never been a single politician whom Parker and Stone hated more than Al Gore, so this plot line was stupidly simple. When Mr. Garrison chooses Ike to run for class president in “Trapper Keeper,” the election comes down to the vote of “Flora” (very subtle) who chooses the eventual victor Ike in a result that’s contested by both Ike’s opponent and Rosie O’Donnell.

George Bush and John Kerry Are Just As Bad As A Giant Douche and A Turd Sandwich

This is essentially just the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror storyline where Kang and Kodos assume the identities of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, prompting the iconic line, “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.” However, “Douche and Turd” delivered its message with a heavier hand as, when Stan finally casts his vote for school mascot between two equally unattractive options only for the Cow to be reinstated, the episode leaves South Park fans with the explicit lesson that voting doesn’t matter.

Barack Obama and John McCain Join Forces for An ‘Ocean’s 11’ Style Jewel Heist

It’s almost quaint how, in 2008, the division between the right and left over the results of the presidential election seemed hysterically apocalyptic to Parker and Stone. In “About Last Night…” the dramatic reactions to Obama’s victory were the perfect diversion for his and McCain’s true plan — stealing the Hope Diamond from the Smithsonian with the help of Michelle “Obama” and Sarah Palin. Only the president-elect could pull off such a perfect crime.

Obama’s Re-Election Revolves Around the ‘Star Wars’ Sequels

Despite only originally winning the presidency for the purposes of swindling the Smithsonian, South Park’s President Obama seemingly decided that staying in the White House was worth a dirty deal with the Chinese government that would cede control of the future of Star Wars to the CCP. Meanwhile, Cartman’s meddling in the electoral process nearly scores him a part in the Chinese sequel trilogy, but, as is usually the case in South Park and in real life, Mickey Mouse comes out on top and Disney walks away with the IP.

President Garrison

South Park’s coverage of the campaign trail leading up to the 2016 election backfired almost as badly as Hillary Clinton’s private email servers. Parker and Stone thought that Clinton’s victory over Donald Trump was such a foregone conclusion that they didn’t even have a backup plotline on deck in case Mr. Garrison had to come out on top in their first post-election episode “Oh, Jeez,” leading to one of the sloppiest storylines in recent South Park.

Mr. Garrison Returns to Work

Perhaps learning from their mistakes in their last election episode, in the “South ParQ Vaccination Special,” Parker and Stone skip the highly contentious 2020 election entirely, choosing to smash cut to the aftermath when Mr. Garrison returns to teach at South Park Elementary as if nothing ever happened — despite the annoying attention he receives from the Whites and their QAnon conspiracy theories.


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