It finally occurred to me how the whole Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton thing will play out.
Bernie is Gollum and Hillary is Frodo.
Now bear with me. The analogy only goes so far, admittedly. There are some obvious shortcomings. After all, in “Lord of the Rings,” Frodo was trying for most of the tale to get rid of the Ring of Power, not obtain it.
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But it’s the scene on Mount Doom that captured my attention during a recent re-watching of the movie trilogy. Not only does Sanders look a little like Gollum, but the fight with Frodo at the edge of the volcanic Mount Doom seems to encapsulate the two campaigns.
Clinton, of course, pretends to be all about the people, just as Frodo’s entire journey was supposed to be about helping the people of Middle Earth. Like Clinton, Frodo is a bit of a drama queen, the appointed Ring-Bearer who is perpetually collapsing, getting stabbed, poisoned, kidnapped, etc. (think of Hillary’s many scandals), and who only makes it as far as the goal line because of the dogged persistence of Samwise, the loyal servant who actually does all the work — just like Hillary’s career features a long line of minions who not only enact her various schemes but provide convenient scapegoats should the need arise to toss someone under the bus. (Like Frodo did to Samwise on the Hidden Stair.)
But can there be any doubt that in the end there will be a betrayal? Just as Frodo seized the Ring of Power for himself, so too would a President Hillary quickly remember that she won the Oval Office — The Precious — for her own glory, not the people’s.
This is where I hope Sanders comes in as Gollum, figuratively leaping on Hillary’s back, biting off her ring finger, then conveniently falling into the lava pit, unintentionally saving everybody in the process.
In real life, Sanders is acting as just such a spoiler. Fresh off an Oregon victory and a nose-and-nose Kentucky draw, Sanders today is vowing to go all the way to the Democratic convention in July.
While Clinton appears to be heading toward the nomination, Sanders is making it impossible for her to do so without ample support from the party’s superdelegates — and that’s not guaranteed, as Clinton learned in 2008.
Clinton’s biggest weakness is her entitlement mentality. Sanders may be a big fat socialist, but at the moment, he’s working hard to get to the Oval Office. Clinton, on the other hand, appears to expect the nomination to be simply handed to her while she phones in her performance on the campaign trail.
Which is why my fondest hope for the Democratic Party is to see Sanders act as the ultimate spoiler, like Gollum, and perhaps even run as a third-party candidate. Just like Ross Perot’s third-party bid once split conservatives, an independent run by Sanders would take all his supporters away from Clinton at the last second, clearing the path for Donald Trump.
And it probably doesn’t hurt that Trump looks a bit like Samwise, either.