Presidential campaigns aren’t so much about policy as they are about personality. Every four years, the hopefuls from both sides of the aisle angling for the most powerful office in the free world engage in their own blitz of public relations, most of it designed to make voters realize that they are, in fact, real human beings with real emotions. A big part of relating to others comes down to media appreciation, so it only seems natural that we should know and analyze the film and television preferences of the 2016 candidates. Who would you want to spend a Friday night with watching movies, Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton? Isn’t that what really matters when we go to the voting booths this November? Not really, but let’s talk about it anyway.
1. Hillary Clinton
The democratic frontrunner has a soft spot for easygoing cinema classics your mom probably likes as well. Her favorite films include romanticized Hollywood classics like The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, and Out of Africa. Robert Redford and Meryl Streep are her comparatively modern favorite actors. Clinton has some updated tastes when it comes to the small screen. Her favorite TV show is Canadian HGTV staple Love It or List It — you know that show, right? Us neither.
2. Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders hasn’t made his film preferences public at this point in the campaign, which is a real shame, since it seems like he might pick something truly bizarre only a cranky old Brooklyn hippie grandpa would know, like an Alejandro Jodorowsky movie or something. Sanders has, however, appeared in two films as an actor. The presidential hopeful’s IMDB page will inform curious voters he appeared as a Rabbi in the 1999 comedy My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception, flubbing lines and mourning the move of the Brooklyn Dodgers to LA, and as a man handing out candy to trick-or-treaters and getting his house egged in the Susan Sarandon vehicle Sweet Hearts Dance.
3. Donald Trump
As a media figure first and foremost, Trump has been quizzed a few times on his favorite films, and his established all-time favorite is the old cliche, Citizen Kane. That hilariously on-the-nose pick is a classic from Orson Welles about a prominent media figure obsessed by his own fortune and using it to run for public office, seeking the adoration his hardheadedness prevents him from obtaining in his private life. And then he dies alone. Save for the sled, Donald Trump might as well be a far more comical version of Charles Foster Kane. Trump’s other favorite flicks include The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Gone with the Wind, Goodfellas, and The Godfather.
4. Ted Cruz
The only remaining Republican hopeful still challenging Trump’s stranglehold on the GOP, Ted Cruz has made his own pop-culture preferences a fixture of his campaign, even showing up at the Buzzfeed offices to record a series of increasingly painful Simpsons character impressions. In another media appearance, he took his impressions one step further by restlessly acting out a scene from his favorite film, the 1987 adventure classic The Princess Bride, adopting the accents of Cary Elwes and Billy Crystal with all the nervous energy of a hyperactive 9-year-old. Cruz, it appears, has good taste in comedy, but we personally can’t decide whether these clips are endearing or downright disturbing.
5. John Kasich
John Kasich is technically still in the race for the GOP nomination, even if it’s completely impossible for him to obtain the delegates he needs to actually compete with Trump or Cruz. He hardly deserves a spot at the debates by now, just as he hardly deserves a spot on this list. That’s good, since he hasn’t made his media favorites public. We can at least assume his taste in movies is awful, given the way he condemns a modern crime classic in his memoir, Stand For Something: The Battle For America’s Soul. Kasich recounts a story about renting the Coen brothers’ film Fargo from a Blockbuster with his wife, before eventually shutting it off during the infamous wood-chipper scene and calling Blockbuster to demand “that they take the movie off their shelves.”
6. The others
Now, we pay tribute to the film preferences of those candidates gone too soon. Marco Rubio likes dirtier movies than his button-down public persona might suggest, including Pulp Fiction and Wedding Crashers. Ben Carson told Buzzfeed he likes True Lies. Jeb Bush Jr. told CNN that his father has a soft-spot for the Will Ferrell comedy Talladega Nights. Chris Christie likes The Godfather. Carly Fiorina likes Secretariat, “because it’s about both a woman and a horse that are underestimated and that surprise everyone.”