Massive spoilers ahead.
The hit HBO series Succession concluded this week after four seasons. The show followed the Roy family as the patriarch, Logan, played by Brian Cox, prepared to depart as head of their media company Waystar and hand leadership over to the next generation.
The series has played out as a power battle between father and children, siblings, board versus family and beyond. Ultimately when the dust settled, only one character could take the reins and the rest were left with scraps.
So which outcome best matches the current presidential contenders?
- Joe Biden is Logan Roy. Dead (metaphorically).
Logan dies midseason making the scramble to succeed him even more fervent. Joe Biden hopefully will not pass away before the next election but is as relevant as though he had. His legacy of terrible policies and mental ailment will linger long after he departs.
- Kamala Harris is Kerry the assistant/mistress. “Chuckles the clown.”
Following the death of Logan, Kerry, played by Zoe Winters, can’t stop laughing in a really weird way that irritates everyone. Sound familiar? By the end of the series, Kerry is bringing lawyers with her just to be allowed to attend the funeral of her departed paramour. As a power and money hungry adulteress who slept with her boss knowing he was married, she’s not a sympathetic figure. Yet the other characters in the show tend to show her sympathy. It’s all very Kamala.
- Ron DeSantis is Roman Roy. Self-sabotaging with entitlement.
Roman Roy played by Keirnan Culkin essentially screws himself out of power by refusing to acknowledge he isn’t prepared to be a leader and trying to force his entitlement onto his more prepared elder siblings. He ices out good advice in favor of bad advice and sits in an echo chamber of his own self-aggrandizing thoughts which ultimately leave him empty handed.Had he gone with his older siblings quietly, he’d be more powerful and lined up for future leadership. Now he has nothing. I think this is fairly self explanatory in terms of the state of the DeSantis campaign.
- Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Mike Pence are all Shiv Roy. Forever a second banana traitor.
Shiv Roy played by Sarah Snook concludes her character arc by turning on her brother in a fit of self-righteous emotion as he is only moments from taking power and protecting their company for the family. She then rides off into the proverbial sunset as a second banana to the new chosen one. It’s on brand for Shiv and it’s on brand for Haley, Scott and Pence. They’ll go the whole way until they’re forced out in a series of losing their own states and then they’ll rejoin the establishment happy as clams, probably with a decent cabinet offer or at least a high profile private sector job close to the admin. And most of them have been traitors to those who were loyal at one point or another.
- The consultant class swamp monsters are Gerri. Doesn’t matter who is in power, she’s there and she always will be.
Gerri Kellman played by J. Smith-Cameron is the corporate lawyer for Waystar and was once the acting CEO. She’s a kingmaker and betrayed by her family allies, she outlasted them remaining firmly in a seat of power after they were out. The swamp is here to stay. The consultant class, the elitists, they find their way into every side. They defy political allegiance. And they might not be the actual President, but they always have an ear.
- Vivek Ramaswamy is Connor Roy. He is never going to win but he’s kind of the best one.
Connor Roy played by Alan Ruck is a lot like Vivek. He has great ideas and a lot of passion. He’s optimistic and open. He speaks intellectually and with vigor. He would make a great asset to any policy team. He’s definitely not going to win, but that’s not going to stop him from participating and changing the narrative. He also just seems so sincere which is rare among the Roys and among the Presidential race.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is Lukas Matsson. He’s fine no matter what and he is playing to impact the outcome.
Lukas Mattson is an eccentric foreign tech mogul (an Elon Musk figure) looking to acquire Waystar from the Roy family. Kennedy isn’t exactly an eccentric billionaire but he is super rich and represents a sort of “alternative dynasty.” He’s there to disrupt and whether or not he can win he’ll be a big factor in the outcome. Plus his wealth and family name will be part of American leadership probably forever.
- Chris Christie is Karl and Frank. They’re indistinguishable in their role and neither were ever going to win the top spot.
Karl played by David Rasche and Frank played by Peter Friedman seem like basically nice guys with a touch of cronyism. They’re not really power players and yet they kind of are making big plays. Like Christie, neither Karl nor Frank were ever going to make it to top dog. But they’re pretty free to hang around or get lost as they choose. Neutrally likable with lots of options. Except being president.
- Hillary Clinton is Kendall Roy. She lost already and somehow still thinks the whole thing is hers for the taking.
Kendall Roy is famously played by Jeremy Strong using the method. Through the entire series, no matter his actions (including but not limited to manslaughter), he believes he is the entitled successor. This comes to blows in the finale when just on the cusp of victory, the spot is snatched from him irrecoverably. While Hillary hasn’t entered the 2024 race, this was her story in 2016 and though she says she doesn’t plan to run, she still makes hint after hint that the seat is really rightfully hers. Even though she never did earn it and she made a bunch of mistakes along the way.
- President Donald Trump is, of course, Tom Wambsgans. People like to write him off, but he’s the one with staying power.
Tom played by Mr. Darcy himself Matthew McFayden is a polarizing character, much like Donald Trump. There are clear schools in the fandom. You’re either team Tom or you think Tom is a conniving idiot. But no matter which camp you’re in, it’s inarguable that Tom is loyal to a fault and even when he makes power moves he doesn’t leave behind the ones he loves. It’s a combative kind of love, especially between Tom and his right hand man, Greg, but it’s love nonetheless. Much like Tom, President Donald Trump is the people’s choice to lead and he’s the one most likely to do it even if the elite don’t want to see it coming.
- BONUS: MAGA Influencers are Greg. Fiercely loyal, ambitious, and the best character in the show.
“You can’t make an Tomelet if you don’t break some Gregs.”