The 2011-12 U.S. presidential campaign was the most expensive and broadly troubling contest in the country’s history. “Perdition” provides a doubly apt metaphor for assessing its place in cultural history. The gangster film “Road to Perdition” (2002), a “blood” or “revenge” tragedy, captures the sense of inter-necine warfare that the GOP primary and caucus battles enacted. John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” (1667) parallels the public’s sense of the country’s descent into a state of darkened disgust and despair. The unexpected con-sequences of the ‘70s party structural reforms, the fracturing of the Republican base in the 2010 bi-election, the number of increasingly acrid GOP debates, and the sheer amount of money spent by candidates, PACs, and especially anonymous superPACs during the electoral contest are explored as accounts for the aptness of the metaphors. Calls for reform complete the analysis.
2012 presidential campaign, Republican party, “Road to Perdition, ” John Milton, “Paradise Lost, ” political advertising, PACs
Copyright © 2012 Bruce Gronbeck