“Anyone can be president if they want it badly enough” — How Saturday Night Live predicted the 2016 election in 2008.
Looking back on Saturday Night Live’s political sketches from the 2008 election highlights how much, and how little, things have changed when compared to the 2016 election. This specifically applies to SNL’s “Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin address the nation” sketch. In 2008, Barrack Obama beat out Hillary Clinton for the democratic nomination in the primaries. So, the election came down to Barrack Obama and John McCain. John McCain’s vice president candidate was Sarah Palin. In the sketch, Sarah Palin (played by Tina Fey) and Hillary Clinton (played by Amy Poehler) address the nation on the issue of sexism in politics. Although sexism is the main focus of the sketch it brought out the clear differences in Clinton and Fey’s qualification levels to be in office.
The sketch begins by Fey saying, “you know, Hillary and I don’t agree on everything” — only to be interrupted by Poehler saying, “anything”. This kicks off the initial focus of the sketch. How these two women, championing for the same thing, are so very different. It then proceeds with Poehler saying, “I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy” and Fey responding, “and I can see Russia from my house!”. A perfect example for the sketch to begin with that highlights how different these two women are.
Next, they proceed to talk about global warming — of which (surprise!) they both have completely opposing opinions. Clinton uses facts and data to draw her conclusion that global warming has been caused by man. However, Fey shows Palin’s true conservative colors by declaring, “global warming is just God hugging us a little closer”. Sound familiar? It should. The exact same issue came up in the 2016 election when Donald Trump declared that Global Warming was made up in a tweet he posted to his twitter account. Clinton, of course, maintained her stance about man’s effect on the environment when running against Trump in 2016.
Another striking similarity between Palin and Trump occurs when Poehler says, “I don’t agree with the Bush Doctrine” and Fey simply laughs and shakes her head as she says, “I don’t know what that is”. The Bush doctrine was adopted under President Bush’s administration in 2001 that asserted America’s right to attack any nation of mass destruction that could be used against US interest or at home. It is alarming that the vice presidential nominee is unaware of the doctrine that arguably started the war in Afghanistan. Even worse, President Trump’s advisors have been quoted laughing at the idea that Trump knows much about health care in our country. If his advisors openly decline his realm of knowledge about important decisions in our country than what does that say about him? Trump and Palin both openly seem too clueless to make it as far in their political careers as they both have.
Even though the two women are supposed to be united against sexism in politics, it is clear that only one of them truly want to fight against it. Here brings us similarity number 3 from the sketch. Although Palin is supposed to be addressing the nation against sexism, Fey portrays her true non-feminist ideals. While Poehler talks about serious political issues and how she has been mistreated by media for being a woman, Fey contributes nothing to their call against sexism. She asks viewers to stop photoshopping her head on sexy bikini pictures and calling her a “MILF”.
Additionally, Fey asks the media to stop using words that “diminish” her such as pretty, attractive, and beautiful. Then, Poehler adds to it by listing “harpy, shrew, and boner-shrinker”. So really, whose the one being attacked? No matter who you voted for in the 2016 election, no one can deny that Trump is a sexist. He is constantly quoted talking about women in truly harsh diminishing terms, such as his infamous “grab her by the pussy” comment. It is clear that both Trump and Palin both don’t have a true care for the equality of women in politics. Palin is just better at hiding it than he is.
It is clear that similarities between Palin and Trump exist, but the most important one is that they both came closer to the white house than Clinton did. Both Palin and Trump were far less qualified, informed, and genuinely not smart enough to have succeeded more than Clinton. Yet, Trump was actually elected as our President and Palin came close to becoming the vice president. The sketch, which was filmed in 2008 before Trump or Clinton had expressed any interest in running in the 2016 election, brings up so many similarities between Clinton and Trump’s candidacy’s. As quoted from Fey, “It just goes to show that anyone can be elected president”, interrupted by Poehler, “ANYONE”. It truly does seem that just about anyone can be elected as our president in this day and age. However, how come it can’t be the overly qualified candidate that has tried so hard but simply can’t win? Then addressed by the sketch as Fey says, “all you have to do is want it enough” followed by a maniac-like laugh from Poehler. The irony lays here — even in 2008 it was clear that Hillary wanted it. Then again in 2016, she REALLY wanted it. However, she still lost to two people that probably didn’t want it as much as she did and were certainly lacking on the qualifications she had. Poehler says, “you know Sarah looking back, I probably should’ve wanted it more”, as she rips a piece of the wood off from the podium in frustration. Could she have possibly wanted it more? Maybe this was fair in 2008 after her first time running and almost succeeding in an election, but this cannot be said for 2016. She certainly wanted and deserved it more than Trump (and Palin) but could not manage to achieve it. So, it does really seem that these days anyone can be president. However, it is a question of “wanting” it bad enough? Or is Clinton simply SOL when it comes to her presidential candidacy.