House of Cards season four, released March 4, transports fans out of the reality of a political race that feels like it's bordering on fiction into a faux political campaign ripe with the deception we believe must exist in the real one. But this season might bear more resemblance to reality than we'd like.
Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump continues to surprise the country and the Republican party with his imminent rise to the nomination. Supporters are turning out in droves to his rallies, and he's leading in the primaries. Despite numerous comments that would have knocked other political candidates out of the running immediately if not caused permanent damage to their political careers -- building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, banning Muslims from the country, refusing to participate in a debate based on his opinion of a female news anchor -- Trump, instead, gains votes and popularity.
In this season, current president Frank Underwood is fighting to keep his position of power. Despite his less than favorable standing in his own race, viewers are drawn to Underwood and his relentless selfish actions. Part of the appeal of House of Cards is that, for the first time ever, viewers don't feel like they're being lied to by their politicians. Frank and Claire are cold-hearted and self-interested. They will do whatever it takes to get what they want, and they make those motivations clear. The American public seems to be craving a similar kind of frankness from its real politicians.
Many Trump supporters repeat similar stock phrases. He's honest. He says what he believes. He has the courage of his convictions. Frank Underwood embodies the same kind of candor. This cold-hearted, realist approach to government, which seems to go against the normal formula for a president, might be exactly what we're looking for. Someone who says exactly what they mean, even if what they mean is racist or that they only have their own best interest at heart.
While Underwood desperately clings to his seat of power with his form of honesty, Trump's continues to contribute to his success. We'll have to watch more to find out if the fake American public falls for Underwood just as so many American voters have fallen for Trump.