Election: an American dilemma

Annie O'Brien, features writer




With a lively cast and a plot full of drama, “Election: An American Dilemma” proves to be a revolutionary show that will impress audiences everywhere. The main characters, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are riveting in their roles as presidential candidates. This one-of-a-kind musical begins with a song summarizing the entirety of the plot, with questionable facts and confusing claims to let the audience know what they are getting themselves into.

As the intriguing story progresses, we learn more about the background of the candidates, and much of their personal lives is exposed. At first, Trump is told by Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager, that “there’s only one way for us to win this: provoke outrage, outright.” This remains a theme throughout the show, as the majority of Trump’s lines and lyrics are insults aimed at Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans and women.

On the other side of the election, Clinton questions the qualifications of her opponent: “Such a blunder sometimes it makes me wonder why I even bring the thunder.” She wows the voters with her experience and the depth of plans she has for the future, especially compared to Trump’s lack of experience and “locker room talk.”

The main conflict of the show takes place in debate battles, where the main characters go head-to-head, trying to show Americans why they should be president. Below is an excerpt from the first debate battle, which Lester Holt moderated.

Trump: I probably shouldn’t brag, but dag, I amaze and astonish. The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish…I’m a trust fund, baby, you can trust me.

Clinton: He knows nothing of loyalty. Smells like new money, dresses like fake royalty, desperate to rise above his station. Everything he does betrays the ideals of our nation.

Holt: Can we get back to politics, please?

In addition to sharing their plans with voters, the candidates criticize each other, with Clinton taking aim at Trump’s unreleased tax returns, and Trump at Clinton’s hidden emails. In a shared song, they both express concern about this, singing “you don’t even know what you’re asking me to confess” in unison, but in conflicting keys to show their differences.

The reaction of voters is essential to the plot, but is only visible to the audience, a staging choice that adds to the suspense of the musical. It is clearly expressed that the voters know the election is “lose-lose,” and that either or both of the candidates can be viewed as “crooked,” but this information is not given to the main characters until later in the show.

The outcome of the election will be kept a secret for the benefit of the readers, but the show is sure to delight and intrigue audiences everywhere with its humorous and unbelievable portrayal of an important time in U.S. history. “Election: An American Dilemma” is a new take on something close to the core of America: its election process. and it can be summed up in two words, “Awesome. Wow.”


Disclaimer: TKC does not own Hamilton. ©2012 Lin-Manuel Miranda All Rights Reserved