ByRichard Berrigan, writer at
I'm 35 years old, I am divorced, and I live in a van down by the river.
Richard Berrigan

I've noticed something about the latest crop of superhero movies coming down the pike this year, at least the two big ones. Both Batman Vs Superman and Captain America: Civil War mirror our election cycle. It's easy to dismiss such an observation with over-generalizations like "all dramatizations of conflict reflect electoral politics," and to some extent, that's true. But this year there seems to be an air of, well, civil war within our two political parties.

Both movies listed above feature two heroes (or teams of heroes) embroiled in a feud that threatens to reshape alliances within their respective universes. Both political parties are also at war with each other for the soul of each party. On the right, Donald Trump threatens to redefine the GOP if elected, and on the left, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are at war over the soul of the Democratic party. These two parties will be at war with each other again this summer, but I find it remarkable that both Marvel and DC will have a movie about good guys fighting each other over ideological disagreements in theaters before the primary season ends.

I can't explain with greater detail the plots of the two movies, since they have yet to be released, and I have limited my own exposure to the prerelease materials, lest I form in incorrect assumption about the films. Other than the general premise, good guys fighting good guys, I can't comment on it further.

I can, however, comment on the nature of the electoral struggle. For anyone who hasn't been following the elections: The Republican party started out with a lot of contenders. It really resembled CA: Civil War, what with its large cast. That lineup has been whittled down to three contenders: John Kasich, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. There has been a crisis within the ranks of the Republican establishment over Trump's inevitable victory. If the Republican establishment, who despises Trump for defeating their favored candidate Jeb Bush, tries to overrule Trump's nomination despite his victories, it could split the GOP into different parties. Which parties they would become and how many is anyone's guess. But like in "Civil War", it appears that the identity of the right is about to be pulled apart.

Likewise in the Democratic party, there have been rumblings. This contest reminds me more of Batman V Superman, if only because there are just two candidates. Hillary Clinton represents the Democratic establishment, which, from what I've read so far, is a position that is greatly loathed. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, represents the more extreme ideologies of progressivism. So far in the contest, most Democrats have put their support behind Hillary, though Sanders has had a few surprise victories. There is a lot of nasty tit-for-tat among Democratic voters, which has been muddying up my Facebook feed for months now. I won't get into the specifics of the feud except to say that there are a lot of Bernie Sanders followers, and they are sick of the establishment. Many of them have threatened to defect if Sanders doesn't get the nomination, which would, in effect, cause the Democratic party to implode on itself. This appears to be the goal. Either they elect a reformer to transform the party, or they burn the party down and build a new one from the ashes. Either way, the Democratic party, much like the Republican party, is about to change, and there's no going back.

Like I've said before, I don't know how much the plots of the movies match what's happening in electoral politics right now because the movies haven't come out yet. It will be interesting to see if they do. What I am struck by is the similarity between the tone of the movies and the tone of our country. Was the timing of these movies by design, or just a coincidence? Art is supposed to reflect life, and in this case, like the comic books from which they were born, our super hero movies are reflecting our political strife and turmoil. Like us, our superheroes are having a crisis of unity.


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