TROUBLE CITY

Just in Time for The 2020 Election: The Lewinsky Scandal!

Articles, Pop CultureBrandon MarcusComment
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I don’t know if you’re aware but there is a presidential election next year. Oh yes, our fearless orange leader will be going head-to-head against one of the many Democratic rivals in what is sure to be one of the most important elections of our lifetimes. It’ll be bitter, it’ll be ugly, it’ll be long and it’ll be exhausting. What could possibly make it any worse? Oh, I don’t know, how about rehashing one of the worst political scandals in history?

That’s exactly what FX will be doing because they’ll be airing Impeachment: American Crime Story in the run-up to the 2020 election. The third season of ACS will revolve all around the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair and will begin running on FX in September 2020, mere days before the first early voting ballots are cast. It’ll star Beanie Feldsteain as Monica Lewinsky, Sarah Paulson and Linda Tripp (yeah, I don’t see it either) and Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones. No word on who will play President Clinton or the many, many other characters in the sordid story. I would love to see Toby Jones as Ken Starr though!

There are many people who are unhappy with FX and creator Ryan Murphy for running this show so damn close to Election Day 2020. The Lewinsky Scandal is still a very divisive episode in American politics. While many now agree that President Clinton shouldn’t have been impeached because of his actions, the whole saga makes Clinton look undeniably bad. He acted irresponsibly and in a very predatory fashion, even if his decisions didn’t reach the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. No liberal voter or politician wants to talk about the scandal anymore, especially so close to November 2020.

But there are people who would love to talk about the affair and the impeachment proceedings again: Republicans. Republicans, including our president, still loathe the Clintons and, for some bizarre and creepy reason, still obsess over them. They want nothing more than to have our country fixated once again on a incident that makes the Clintons and their party look bad. Nevermind the fact that their current leader has done abysmal, offensive and illegal things to women — and has bragged about them. Nevermind the fact that neither Clintons are running in the election. Nevermind the fact that it took place over 20 years ago. Nevermind any of that, the Republicans and President Trump would love for the nation to be once again buzzing about Bill Clinton’s misdeeds.

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Some worry that all this talk about the Lewinsky affair so close to Election Day could swing the national vote and give Trump four more years in office. I think that’s a bit over-dramatic but, honestly, it’s possible. If I’ve learned one thing from the 2016 election and the events that have followed it’s this: anything is possible. Anything. Donald Trump nabbing the Republican nomination seemed unlikely but it ended up being possible. Donald Trump winning the election after all the crap he said and did seemed unlikely but it ended up being possible. You’d think that Americans wouldn’t be influenced by American Crime Story but I won’t accept certainty about anything anymore.

FX Chairman John Landgraf doesn’t think the new season will influence the election at all and took up for Murphy’s series. This is what he said, via THR:

Let me just say something about the current environment,” said the executive. “So this person knows what the show is, knows how the audience is going to respond to it, knows how it’s going to impact history, right? This certainty that says, ‘We can’t have conversations, we can’t make art, we can’t have nuance, I won’t even wait to pronounce judgment on it,’ is toxic in the media environment.”

Langraf went on to note that he “believes very, very strongly” in the project. “I’ve read it, I think it’s great. I don’t believe it’s going to determine who is the next president of the United States.

Landgraf is probably right when he says the ACS won’t determine the election results. Probably. But would you want to risk it? At the end of the day, voters choose based on many factors from the economy to international affairs to unkept promises. It’s unlikely that a television show about the Lewinsky Scandal will tilt the election in favor of the president. But, hey, anything is possible.