All The Ways House of Cards Borrowed From —And Influenced— 2016 Politics

And this isn't about Donald Trump being a ruthless dictator who will kill his way to the top. Hopefully that part stays fictional.

Before the dust settles on what turned out to be an explosive Super Tuesday, the focus pivots to a cutthroat and opportunistic weekend ahead. While Sanders, Cruz, Rubio, Clinton, and Trump artfully waltz their way through gaining super delegates and increasing public trust, President Frank Underwood continues to break every rule. Days before season four of House of Cards causes us to call out of work Friday and watch 13 consecutive episodes of tactical world domination is released, we did some digging and found some disturbing similarities between the series and this election cycle.

As both the chicken and the egg, we’re taking a look at where House of Cards may have taken a cue from some of 2016’s biggest political stars, but also how it served as a predictor to whatever the hell this circus has become. For all we know, Donald Trump could be murdering choke-holding journalists and scamming people. Oh, wait.

  • Claire…Clinton?

    Netflix; Getty Images

    Even casual viewers of the show will see many parallels between former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and First Lady Claire Underwood. Robyn Wright has publicly stated that her portrayal of the character is not based off Clinton, but the similarities between the two are nuanced and involve more than being a strategic and powerful First Lady. During season three, Claire is advised to dye her hair in order to help her husband’s electability. Maddening as that may seem, a similar scenario existed for Clinton during her time in Arkansas. After then-Governor Bill lost re-election in 1980, much of the criticism surrounded his feminist wife who refused to take his last name.

    Two years later, the opportunity to take back the Governor’s Mansion arose. As a 1996 CNN profile would note, “In 1982 Bill Clinton won back the governorship and Hillary took his last name. She also made a new image for herself. She switched glasses for contacts, lightened her hair and dressed better.” Oh boy.

    In present day, the two also went on to share similar rungs on the career ladder. While Claire briefly served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations while First Lady, Clinton would succeed the White House by serving as Senator for New York and running to be the 2008 Democratic nominee for President before settling into her Secretary of State post in 2009. Fusing the influence they gained as first ladies with their tactical persuasion, the two excel in international negotiations.

    Still, the best comparison is their affinity for drinking games. Yes, you read that right. During season three, we see Claire and Secretary of State Catherine Durant engage in a pretty legendary game of beer pong in order to drunkenly build their professional relationship. While a different game, Clinton admitted late last year to competitively throwing a few back with Senator John McCain. While working together, she admits that they had a vodka-infused drinking competition which ended up in a tie.

  • Donald Trump is in fact Raymond Tusk

    Getty Images; Netflix

    As a billionaire with low levels of empathy and high amounts political clout and ambition, it’s becoming hard to describe the differences between Trump and Tusk. Trump has had political ties that date back throughout his career with expansive and diverse international interests, just like Tusk. Unlike Tusk, he’s actually running to be the leader of the free world, rather than puppeteering. Now on the horizon of what looks like a sure-to-be ascension to the GOP nomination, we see that he plays dirty in the same matter that causes Tusk and Underwood to spar so heavily.

  • Wives Are Not to be Underestimated

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    Not that Claire should ever be underestimated, but her power was notably wielded when she and Frank travelled to Russia. The death of imprisoned gay rights activist, Michael Corrigan, left a haunting impact on her which lead to some explosive remarks before a landmark agreement between Russia and the U.S. was announced. These remarks called off the deal sitting in the background of the season. IRL, Columbia Bush—Jeb’s wife—became embedded in Jeb’s immigration policy as a Mexican-American herself. Trump retweeted a message that read “#JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife,” which found him in hot water. When asked to apologize live during a debate, of course the dealmaker failed to back down, wedging a prominent rift between the two.

  • Vicious Shade Throwing Between Female Presidential Candidates

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    When asked to assess the current American economy, Carly Fiorina instead used part of that time to deliver a targeted barb at who she saw as her democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton. After commenting on being a political outsider, Fiorina slipped out “and unlike another woman in this race, I actually love spending time with my husband” before talking about citizen governments and crony capitalism. A little below-the-belt and out of the blue? We thought so too.

    Just as Jackie Sharp going hard on the other female candidate in her race (albeit, one who actually shared a debate stage) didn’t work as planned, Fiorina’s critique didn’t quite stick. After Underwood urged Sharp to attack Heather Dunbar for having her children in private school, Sharp began to lose traction in the race and would ultimately drop out in support of Dunbar. While we don’t quite see a Hillary endorsement coming from Fiorina’s corner yet, who knows?