-{The following is a post I wrote a while back. I was never really sure whether or not to bother posting it because I don’t know how interested y’all might be. So I figured that I would just hold on to it and maybe put it up if I ran out of content and was desperate for some material. However, DC Comics is releasing a series called DCU Decisions which will actually reveal the political leanings of the characters. Once that happens the speculation within this post is moot. So, if you don’t care the slightest about superheroes, comic books, and whatnot, feel free to skip over this. I won’t be offended.}-

Being a lapsed comic book nerd and an ongoing political geek, one of the things I ponder when trying to keep my mind busy (or awake) is how the two might intersect. Sometimes I develop ideas wherein the Democratic Party become the superhero-friendly party (because superheroes defend the powerless against the powerful) and sometimes the Republican Party does (because they support self-reliance and private action over government intervention). Sometimes I figure that superheroes would so change the political culture so greatly that nothing comparable to our two parties would even exist.

Sometimes, though, I just wonder to myself how Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne would vote if given the choices that we have. Not because I would emulate their vote, necessarily, but because I think such things help us understand the characters and because generally speaking the comic book publishers try to steer clear of assigning political (or religious) identification to the characters where it isn’t integral to the plot. This is a smart move because comic book writers often have the subtlety of a Mack truck and with relatively rare exception (Steve Ditko, Chuck Dixon) veer in one political direction: the left. If you ask the writers of the political orientation of the various superheroes, most will say that unless otherwise specified the heroes liberal or Democrat because in their mind the superheroes and Democrats are the good guys (notably, they erased the existence of Hawkman’s conservatism just recently). So doing what I do (preoccupy myself with pointless things like fictional US maps and politics and superheroes) I try to come up with it on my own.

So for better or worse, here’s what I’ve come up with:

Clark Kent (Superman) — Clark is probably not registered with either political party, but I suspect that he pretty consistently votes Democrat in more recent elections. When he got off the bus from Smallville, he probably had some of that midwestern populist conservatism in him that lead him to have a soft spot for Ronald Reagan. I figure that living in Metropolis and meeting public figures probably made him a bit more of an establishmentarian, making him comfortable with George H. Bush as well. I don’t imagine he would have cared much for Bill Clinton and with Bob Dole being a fellow native Kansan, he probably voted for Dole as well. I’d expect that he was voting for Democratic congressional figures for much of this time to balance himself out a bit. After 1996, though, I see him starting to shift to the left. His relationship and later marriage to lefty Lois Lane* probably tipped him over the edge. I expect he would have been enthusiastic about Gore in 2000 and would unhesitatingly voted for Kerry in 2004. Despite not liking Bill, I see him as more amenable to Hillary Clinton this time around. I would expect him to have admiration for McCain and great hope for Obama, though I can’t say with any certainty who I think that he would prefer.

Bruce Wayne (Batman) — Bruce Wayne is a toughie. Given his outright war on crime, I can’t imagine Bruce having much of anything nice to say about the ACLU as Clark Kent might. On the other hand, he is on record as being opposed to the death penalty and strongly in favor of gun control. He’s also the George Carlin of superheroes. Carlin once said that anyone going slower than him on the freeway is a ninny and anyone going faster is a maniac. While Batman may be more hard-nosed than Superman, he’s quick to call anyone more hard-nosed as him as being completely out of line. He also seems to buy into the poverty-causes-crime notion. While I don’t expect he would be a card carrying member of the Republican Party, and I think in an odd way he would prefer to be a more liberal guy, I think his instincts would push him to vote Republican most of the time in presidential elections, save maybe a vote for Clinton in 1996 and Kerry in 2004.

Dick Grayson (Robin/Nightwing) – Lacking the edge of his mentor, I think he lacks the streak of conservatism. He’s a joiner at heart, so I’d say Democrat.

Tim Drake (Robin) – He’s an upper-class northeasterner. Whatever sympathies he might have had for Republicans in an earlier time are not particularly conducive to Bob Dole and George W Bush, the two main Republicans since puberty. Unless his father was a Rockerfeller Republican that instilled some party loyalty into him, I’d say that he is also a Democrat or at least more sympathetic to their ideas. Being young and relatively idealistic, I’d say that he probably likes Obama.

Diana (Wonder Woman) – She is not eligible to vote because she is not a US citizen. I’d imagine that on election night she has been crossing her fingers uniformly for Democrats except in 1996, where it would have been Nader. She would have a sign for Hillary Clinton in her front yard.

Barry Allen (The Flash) – A midwesterner with a crew-cut who works for the police. I’m thinking Republican. Probably a card-carrying one. George W Bush and the War in Iraq might have changed his opinion somewhat, though. But he was dead well before any of that happened.

Wally West (The Flash) – He probably breaks ranks with his mentor, Barry Allen. Every indication are that he is fairly liberal. In 1996 he compared a conservative politician to the pilot of the Hindenberg. Mostly, though, his personality was fleshed out by Mark Waid, who thinks that voting Democratic correlates about as strongly as being a good person as does being honest and kind.

Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) – Hal Jordan is one of the few expressly conservative superheroes out there, though he was made so in order to lose arguments with Green Arrow and/or be proven wrong over and over again. Nonetheless, I think he fits the profile of a McCain Republican pretty closely. He might have voted for Clinton in 1996 had he not been dead that election cycle, but Bush, Bush, and Reagan as more acceptable than the alternatives (except when GWB ran against McCain in the 2000 primaries). He’s a loyalty-minded guy, so I think even in 1996 he would have pulled the lever for Dole.

Kyle Raynor (Green Lantern/Ion) – I bet he was crackerjack excited about Ralph Nader in 2000 and Howard Dean in 2004. He probably thinks that Obama is something akin to The Second Coming. Doesn’t matter, though, because he’s almost certainly never gotten off his butt to vote in his entire life.

J’onn JO’nzz (Martian Manhunter) – Whether or not he’s an American citizen depends on which origin you believe. In the one wherein he took the identity of a real American named John Jones, I’d imagine that he could have taken Jones’s voter registration, too. I have doubts as to whether he would have found it ethical to vote in any case, but I given that he’s an illegal immigrant with a strange non-Christian religion and catastrophic fear of of nuclear war, I can’t point to any election in the last 30 years wherein he would have been rooting for the Republican.

Aquaman- I don’t expect he’s a regular voter in US elections (though technically he would be a US citizen), but given how important the environment is to him I suspect that he dislikes Democrats less than he dislikes Republicans.

Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) – About as liberal as they come. No mystery here. Since he was too dead to break for Nader in 2000, I think he has the honor of being the most reliably lefty superhero in the DCU.

Dinah Lance (Black Canary) – She hangs out with Oliver Queen for a reason. The only difference I see between the two is that she would be more excited about Hillary Clinton this year and he (maybe) Barack Obama.

Katar Hol (Hawkman) – Though they retconned his conservatism out of existence, I think that it still mostly fits. It’s not a slam dunk, though. Hol’s home planet was much more analogous to a Republican dystopia than a Democratic dystopia and Hol himself was a critic of his planet’s elites. That would suggest to me that he probably leans to the left. However, people respond to language that’s familiar with him. In other words, I think that Republican talking points on crime, economics, and foreign policy would resonate him while he wouldn’t quite be able to grasp Democratic talking points. I don’t think it matters, though, because I don’t think he has citizenship.

Carter Hall (Hawkman) – He’s a professor by temperament. His passion is archeology. His religion is not in the Judeo-Christian mold. The question here is whether he is too disappointed by the Democratic Party to bring himself to vote at all. Though with the histories of Carter Hall and Katar Hol becoming so blurred, I’ve heard that Carter has taken on some of Hol’s general conservatism.

… and this is where I ran out of steam and stopped writing.

* – Ironically, the aforementioned DCU Decisions series calls Lois Lane out as a conservative. For some reason I associate her with pretty staunch liberalism. I can’t for the life of me remember why.


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6 Responses to How Would Superman Vote?

  1. Linus says:

    In a way I hate to “accuse” you of this, but maybe you associate Lois Lane with staunch liberalism because she’s a journalist?

  2. trumwill says:

    I thought of that and it might factor in, but only in part. Not so much that she’s a journalist (reporters I generally perceive as more moderately liberal than staunchly so), but that she’s a woman journalist who made something of a big deal of keeping her last name when she got married… but I’m relatively certain that there’s more to it than that. I just can’t remember what.

  3. SFG says:

    Haha! Great. I was never a comic book guy but I think this is great. How about Marvel?

    I think Spiderman is a Democrat, being a poor kid from the outer boroughs of NYC.

    The X-Men are probably Democrats, what with the being persecuted for being different and all, though I could see Wolverine as a Republican. And maybe Cyclops–lonely and responsible and all that.

    Captain America has GOT to be a Republican.

    Iron Man is probably a Republican; millionaire industrialist and all.

    The Fantastic Four? Mr. Fantastic is probably apolitical, but what with the global warming business and creationism he’s probably voting Democrat. The Human Torch? Young and reckless–an Obama man. I’m assuming the Invisible Woman is a Democrat based on demographics (highly educated female), but you never know. The Thing–could go either way.

    I suspect Bruce Banner’s a Democrat, and the Hulk would probably be a Republican if he stopped to think about it. Which of course he wouldn’t, being the Hulk.

    I really want to call Thor a Republican, but I’m not sure why. Maybe the whole Aryan thing?


    Magneto strikes me as a Republican–unless of course he wants the country to be weak so he can take it over. Then again, he is Jewish, so maybe he’s a Democrat.

    Dr. Doom? Republican. Monarchist and all that. Though he might think he could cut a deal with Obama.

    Green Goblin? Rich industrialist. Republican.

    Dr. Octopus, I really don’t know.

    Galactus probably thinks they taste equally good.

  4. trumwill says:

    Captain America has GOT to be a Republican.

    You would think, wouldn’t you? But no. Marvel instead has decided to go the route that “dissent is patriotism” and made Captain America a perpetual dissenter even to the extent that the patriotic/jingoistic 1950’s Captain America was declared to be a fake sent by our enemies to destroy us from the inside. Then several years ago he was apologizing for terrorists (“It’s America that should be ashamed!” he basically said) and died rallying against the US Government’s attempts nefarious attempts to keep tabs on people that wear masks, skirt laws, and break things. I don’t know the new Captain America’s politics, but he was Steve Rogers’s hand-picked successor. The Cap from Marvel’s Ultimate line is supposed to be a bit more conservative, though.

    I think I agree with you on most of the others, to the extent that I know Marvel comics, which is not as much as I know DC Comics.

  5. SFG says:

    You know, I think I read about that. A little silly. I mean, I kind of got the whole Professor-X-as-MLK-and-Magneto=as-Malcolm-X bit, I even thought it was pretty clever, but an anti-American Captain America is kind of dumb, IMHO.

    Then again both companies are in NYC if I remember, so maybe patriotism was just too uncool?

    I somehow always saw DC as the more ‘conservative’ of the two what with traditional hero-types like Superman and Batman, whereas Marvel had more teams like the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers. But maybe that’s just that me.

    I also, if you noted, tended to see most of the heroes as Democrats and villains as Republicans; I don’t know if that’s Marvel’s slant or mine as a liberal…

  6. trumwill says:

    I think it’s a case of a bunch of writers being unable to separate what they think is the right thing from what the character thinks is the write thing. Mark Waid in particular is a good example of this: My superhero is a good person, good people hold liberal views, my superhero will hold liberal views. Waid isn’t one of the architects behind Captain America, but he has been considered a proponent of his liberalness.

    I think that the chief difference between DC and Marvel is that the former is a branch of a corporate entity with its hands in all sorts of pies whereas Marvel, while a corporation, is a corporation that focuses primarily on artistic works (namely, of course, comic books).

    My guess is that most supervillains are probably relatively apolitical or if they are political are more likely to donate to those that can advance them financially. At most they’d be like Rupert Murdoch, holding generally conservative views but aligning himself with Hillary Clinton when helpful. This applies to the wealthy or mobbed up sorts of villains (Lex Luthor, Kingpin, Penguin, pre-deformed Dr Doom). The “blue collar villains” like the Flash’s Rogue Gallery are probably completely apolitical.

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