This being a Presidential election year, there was bound to be a movie about…a Presidential election! Sorry, I don’t intend to sound cynical. I really enjoyed Swing Vote. Yes, it celebrates voter fraud and neglectful parenting but, let’s face it, it’s a movie.
Kevin Costner plays Bud Johnson, the above mentioned neglectful parent. His intelligent, well-spoken twelve year old daughter Molly (who really is the parent in the relationship) expects her drunk, shiftless, uninformed father to vote in the election. They live in the improbably named town of Texico, New Mexico (which, by the way, actually exists in Curry County). After the polls close on Election Day, there is no President due to a near tie in the electoral votes. And New Mexico’s votes are split. Due to a glitch in a voting machine, Bud’s vote is invalidated. New Mexico law allows him to file a petition to re-vote. Bud Johnson’s vote, therefore, will decide the Presidential election.
When Bud’s new voting day is set the Presidential candidates, played by Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper, and their staffs, and the media descend on Texico. The candidates begin wooing Bud shamelessly, even turning his favorite fishing river into a protected wilderness.
Swing Vote shows politicians at their worst, and does promote the power of the single vote. I really enjoyed it, despite the fact that it presents such an extremely unlikely scenario. Just remember that it is only a movie.