In a surprise upset, Bowser has defeated Princess Peach to win the presidency in the Mushroom Kingdom’s first-ever democratic election.
Bowser, a real estate developer who owns several castles in Worlds 1–1 through 8–4, announced his candidacy last year to surprise and some derision. He immediately made waves by proposing a giant lava moat around the entire Kingdom, and speaking off-the-cuff about new guidelines regarding who can and can’t travel through pipes.
Princess Peach, the eldest daughter in the royal family, was by no means a perfect candidate herself—despite a lifetime of public service and a wealth of experience helping run the Mushroom Kingdom. In a year when citizens were eager for change, Peach was seen by many as the ultimate “insider”; somebody who had gained too much from the current system for too long to make any real change
The campaign did not go smoothly for either candidate. Princess Peach was accused of using her position to funnel coins to foreign donors, particularly two of her close confidants, a pair of Italian plumbers. She was also accused of letting the infrastructure of the Kingdom crumble, promoting conservation instead of mining new resources to replace shattered blocks and empty question boxes.
While Bowser touted his experience as a working-man builder, his detractors accused him of being garish and out-of-touch, citing castles filled with spinning fireball chains and fire-breathing statues built in his own image. His lack of concrete knowledge was obvious; for all his “new ideas,” every event seemed to end in the same way – with Bowser leaping around, roaring and spitting fire, making the same predictable movements over and over.
It was a brutal contest: the outsider versus the establishment; the current-gen versus the next-gen; the princess versus a candidate many saw as the “bad guy.”
In the final weeks of the campaign, both candidates made pushes to turn out their bases and attract new voters. Peach made a whirlwind tour with Yoshi and the Mario Brothers, promising power-ups and extra lives while ridiculing Bowser as an ill-tempered “boss” without any experience outside of attacking people.
Bowser dispatched a number of high-profile surrogates to spread his message: Donkey Kong, former mayor of Donkey Kong Country; Wario, the somewhat boorish and plainspoken brother of Mario and Luigi; and his children, the Koopalings. At his own rallies, Bowser’s rhetoric became increasing nasty. He took up cries to “drain the sub-world” and criticized Peach for taking time off from running the Kingdom to go campaign in another castle.
Strong support for Peach in urban centers like Toad Town and Yoshi Island led many to predict a landslide victory, but Bowser was carried to a surprise win by a groundswell of Koopas, Goombas, Bullet Bills and Piranha Plants who often felt like they were under attack — literally and figuratively — by the current administration.
President-elect Bowser has pledged to be a leader for everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom—whether they wear a shell or a toadstool, whether they ride on a dinosaur or a cloud. His promises throughout the divisive campaign, however, have many citizens worried about their safety. Couldn’t his restrictions on pipe travel be targeted unfairly? Won’t his promise to loosen regulations on Bullet Bills put many in danger?
For now, worried members of this new democracy can only hope that the office will temper Bowser, and that his inflammatory claims were only so many more fireballs. But whether his “giant lava moat” is a literal impassible moat, a smaller lava pool with an easily-collapsible bridge over it, or simply a Koopa in a helmet patrolling the border with hammers, only time will tell.