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Acceptable Political Targets
"You don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference..."
Richard Nixon — losing a race for governor in 1962, six years before becoming President

A subset of Acceptable Targets. This one deals with demonized political groups. It's gonna be a Long List, because politics is one arena where (in a democratic society, at least) all groups not only have to compete against each other, but have to publicly compare themselves with each other. This too easily leads to making the other guy out to be a Strawman Political.

It is important to remember that your opinion on how (un)deserving of ridicule or hatred a given political group is has nothing to do with whether it should be listed here; this is merely an index of how the group is treated in popular culture. (So ideally examples shouldn't be "These guys suck lol" or "We deserve to be on here because we're so persecuted.")

This is not That Other Wiki, so we're not concerned with what groups actually believe. It's also not just about groups that are disagreed with or controversial — the group has to be among the Acceptable Targets for mockery and derision.

It can be taken as a given that literally any political position is a valid target in media intended solely for people who oppose it (or in political ads intended as an attack); so for sanity's sake, this list should mostly be limited to political targets that are viewed as acceptable in "mixed company" or media with mass-market appeal. You might attack a major, mainstream political party on a TV channel intended for its opposition, for instance; but you would (almost) never do so in a Hollywood blockbuster, and not without significant backlash if you did, because it's probably not an acceptable target to the public as a whole.

See also Strawman Political. And do not forget the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment.

Examples:

Politicians as a group

Sleazy, corrupt, and willing to lie to their grandmother to get elected. Ultimately, politicians are about the easiest group to make into an acceptable target - just about any politician has a topic that they can be attacked on legitimately, and the profession as a whole tends to disproportionately attract sleazeballs only interested in power. It generally takes several years of cleanliness, honesty, and competence before a politician is truly respected by most people - and then, to paraphrase an old Disney song, you're not a politician anymore, but a statesman.

Attacking politicians as a vaguely-defined group also allows writers to avoid offending anyone by insulting their specific brand of politics; politically-minded viewers can still laugh and assume that they're attacking all the other politicians.

Film
  • Obi-wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy takes a very dim view of politicians in general.

Video Games
  • Dragon Age II allows Hawke to make 'politicians' jokes at every turn, and at one point if you tell Varric that you are going to change the way Kirkwall works he tells you that entering politics is either "idealism or madness...so, either way, right up your alley."

The Communists

Considering that many famous Communists include Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and etc. There's no wonder that Communism has a really bad name. Stalin is consistently ranked (by non-Russians) to be one of the worst people of the 20th Century, as he was a paranoid monster who had millions upon millions upon millions of innocent people killed. It simply wouldn't be a stretch to say he was a lot worse than Hitler. Mao is noted to being among the largest mass-murderers in history, notably killing far more people than Stalin or Hitler. And while Pol Pot can't really match the two over the number of people killed, he did wipe out a quarter of the Cambodian population, and had most of his victims brutally tortured to death. So it would be perfectly natural to label the 3 as among the most evil people who ever lived.

Alternatively, because they could reasonably be portrayed as out to overthrow the government. The overall stereotype has shifted over time, going gradually from one of Ax-Crazy Terrorists Without a Cause a century ago to today's "Big Brother" portrayal (which invariably gets conflated with the Nazis - though as the Secret Police and The Gulag show, these bitter ideological enemies are Not So Different).

Film
  • In Indiana Jones (the fourth film), the Soviets are portrayed as the primary villains. Of course, they failed miserably.
Real Life
  • Stalin is mentioned along with Adolf Hitler on the Godwin's Law page. Calling someone a Stalinist is seen as worse than just a Communist (Stalinist, for similar reasons to the Nazis, would be - after all, by most estimates Stalin did kill far more people).
  • The most acceptable target of post-Stalin communism is anything related to the Berlin Wall. After all, how well can communism be working if they have to build a wall to keep people in their "workers' paradise"? The western propaganda practically writes itself!

The Nazis

Let's face it; being totalitarian fascists, helping to start World War II and being responsible for one of the worst genocides of the 20th Century isn't exactly going to endear you to the rest of the planet. In fact, the Nazis had to be very bad to give birth to a very common weapon on Internet debates: Godwin's Law as well as destroying Fascism as a viable 1st world political leaning. Debates may exist over how cartoonish a fashion it is acceptable to portray the Nazis (do you make them as cartoonishly bad as possible, in an attempt to make them ridiculous and thus impossible to take seriously? Or do you take them perfectly seriously, because anything else would be disrespectful to their millions of victims?). In fact; start mocking their victims and you'd better be prepared for every civilized person in the western hemisphere to take offense. Of course, a further unfortunate repercussion of their existence is that even today they continue to generate a rather unfortunate impression of Germany and its citizens.

Film
  • In Blazing Saddles, we see Nazis in line to try out for Hedley's army of thugs, and a (heavily implied) Jewish actor playing the dictator appears briefly. He is also visible repeatedly giving Nazi salutes in the background of the Great Pie Fight, as well as during the swearing in scene.
    Hedley: RIGHT hands!
  • You Nazty Spy was the first film to ever lampoon the Nazis.
  • Nazis. Indiana Jones hates these guys. They're the secondary villains in two out of four of his movies. After directing Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg decided he would never again do a movie with "cartoon Nazis".
  • The Blues Brothers hate Illinois Nazis.

Video Games

Real Life
  • Public service announcements were directed at English fans travelling to the 2006 World Cup in Germany not to mention the war. Special attention was paid to the fact that the German authorities wouldn't take kindly to people doing Hitler impressions and the like.
    • Imitating stereotypical Nazi behavior is usually understood by modern Germans that a person believes these behaviors are still common in Germany and that rules and standards of society are still the same. Which is probably the single most guaranteed way to piss about every German seriously off. And the English are particularly infamous for doing it. In fact, it is illegal in Germany to make the Nazi salute in public.

Fascists

While Nazis are already a target, being a Fascist is also a subject of hate and anger since the Axis was wholly made of totalitarian governments who at best will turn certain races to second class citizens and at worst exterminate you on the basis of nation or race. With the end of WWII, the notion of a Fascist politician or leader went the way of the Dodo bird and is often portrayed as behind Nazism and Communism in terms of evil. This doesn't mean that fascist partisans no longer exist (they do, and are even politically competitive in some countries); it does mean, though, that they usually must perform all kinds of rhetorical gymnastics in order to present themselves to the public.

  • Reality Is Unrealistic: the most notable subversion (especially as time passes and people forget) is probably Fascist Spain, which maintained its openly, explicitly fascist and Axis-friendly government from the 1930s right up until 1975, largely thanks to not officially having taken part in WWII.

The Ku Klux Klan

(Blazing Saddles and South Park both have excellent examples) because of the combination of the silly hoods and ostentatious rituals with racist actions and beliefs.

Film

Literature

Radio
  • Notably, they were featured as the villains in The Adventures of Superman... back in the '40s, when they were still considered kind of respectable. Well, the villains were called "The Clan of the Fiery Cross," but it's very clear who they meant. That show helped expose the truth about their racist agenda, which led to the organization as it was then being eventually completely disbanded. (Klansmen nowadays are pretty much all imitators) That's right, Superman defeated the Klan.

McCarthyism

Joseph McCarthy was a second-string United States Senator (Republican from Wisconsin) who was on the fast track to censure or even impeachment in the Senate for less than honorable dealings he had engaged in while a Senator. The Republican Party thought that by sending him to speak in Wheeling, West Virginia it would be near the last anyone would ever have to hear of him. However, after delivering a speech in which he claimed to have a list of 200-odd prominent members of the U.S. State Department who were also active members of the Communist Party, his fortunes revived and he became almost untouchable for a time. Between 1950 and 1954 Senator Joe McCarthy led a crusade against communist infiltration in the U.S. government and society. Although immensely popular during his heyday, these days McCarthy is used in fiction and other discourse to represent the absolute nadir of political mudslinging and opportunism, and he's often in some way connected with the dark Government Conspiracy that authors like to create. Quite an accomplishment (so to speak) for a man who's been dead for over half a century.

Note that according to the reports of defectors, corroborated after the fall of the Soviet Union by both the opening of the KGB archives and the declassification of the VENONA intercepts (a CIA/NSA program of tapping Soviet diplomatic telegram traffic) there actually were quite a few Soviet agents in the government, including some who did pose a threat (it finally proved, for instance, that Alger Hiss was a spy after all). This is not this trope. McCarthy didn't particularly care whether or not there were Communist agents in government, just so he could piggyback on the issue to ensure his political future, and did not care just how much bullying or slandering of reputations he committed to attain that one goal of political survival.

Film

Talking Heads

Anyone who has no political qualifications but who talks about politics on TV. Everyone from Michael Moore on the left to Ann Coulter on the right. They have less protection from satire than actual politicians because of the "who do they think they are?" factor. They also have the drawback of being easily recognizable symbols of the causes/political positions that they support, and thus being easily-recognizable subjects for parody, satire and mockery.

Politically active celebrities

Being famous gives you a big audience that you can use to bring attention and influence to the political and social issues that interest you, but it also opens you up to plenty of mockery, mainly for hypocritical and / or cynically self-serving behavior or just plain not knowing what you're talking about, whether any of the accusations are actually warranted to begin with. A lot of celebrities become targets of pundits for having opinions simply because it's not in their job listing, even when they're being genuinely civic-minded.

  • Frequently mocked on 30 Rock. Here's just one example:
    Tracy: Jenna, we're the most important people here, right?
    Jenna: Well of course, Tracy. We're actors. If we didn't exist, how would people know who to vote for?

Film
  • This paranoia was brilliantly mocked in Stanley Kubrick's Doctor Strangelove.
  • Also, chillingly portrayed in Fail-Safe was the dire consequences that many feared would be a result of the tensions between the USSR and the US.

Libertarians

Generally portrayed as some or all of the following: paranoid wackos stockpiling guns and Krugerrands for the imminent collapse of society, regular conservatives who just want to smoke weed all day, crypto-racists and anti-Semites, "fuck yours, I got mine"-style sociopaths, and obese basement-dwelling armchair political theorists posting on Reddit. Often, liberals will see them as an exaggerated version of their stereotypes of conservatives, and vice versa. Note that these words do not mean the same thing outside the United States.

Anarchists

The word invokes images of groups of bikers with guns and Molotov cocktails spreading terror to the surrounding countryside and militia that do what they please, regardless of the damage that is done in the process, because, after all, Anarchy Is Chaos. Of course, they tend to see the government the same way. (In reality, most of them are hippie-type activists and usually pacifists.) Was particularly strong in the 1800s, mainly because anarchists went around assassinating world leaders (Leon Czolgosz kiled William McKinley, for example).

The US Congress, or any legislature for that matter

As Mark Twain once put it: "If the opposite of Pro is con, then the opposite of Progress is Congress." It is generally accepted that people generally approve of THEIR senator/representative, often even supporting those who are of the opposite party, but view the Congress in general as a bunch of corrupt morons out of touch with reality. Except for the nontrivial number of people who despair that Congress is a bunch of corrupt morons in general including their senators or representative, and tend to spend their time voting for dark horse candidates in the primaries and then slouching through general election season in apathy. You know people don't like them when even the much reviled Bush's approval rating was double digits more than the congresses under him. Even Richard Nixon had a higher approval rating during Watergate than Congress has had in recent years. So did BP during the oil spill and banks during the 2008 financial crisis. Other things which polls have determined to be more popular than Congress include root canals, colonoscopies, head lice, traffic jams, cockroaches, polygamy, and used-car salesmen.

Advertising
  • Often used by political ads, surprisingly enough. It usually goes like this: "Congress is full of evil, corrupt people. Of course, the candidate we're advertising is different, which is why you have to vote for them."

Literature
  • Congress is the butt of many a joke by Mark Twain. Some of his more famous quotes:
    • "Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
    • "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."

Theatre

Warlords

Forcing others to grow illegal drugs or join an illegal militia can't be right, can it?

Neoconservatives

The term refers to a specific subset of US conservative who believed in the aggressive use of unilateral military action to achieve American foreign-policy goals and "spread democracy";note  as this led to the fiasco in Iraq, it is generally considered to be discredited. Their other plank, regarding deregulation of businesses, is still alive and well. However, the term is thrown around generously to refer to any US politician who belongs to a conservative party yet advocates uncautious action. By the end of the George W. Bush's second term "neoconservative" had come to mean "Republican I don't like."
  • Since many prominent Neoconservatives were formerly liberal Jewish intellectuals, there's often a whiff of anti-Semitism as "Neocon" gets used as shorthand for "JOOOS."

Film

The Tea Party

Springing up in the wake of the 2008 elections, the Tea Party is mostly made up of junior Republican Congressmen and Senators. The term is ill-defined and usually self-applied, though liberals use it as an insult. According to the Left they're a bunch of theocratic racist fascists who hate women and worship the super-rich — and anything else bad the Left can think of. The name comes from their anti-tax stance as a reference to the Boston Tea Party, and Taxed Enough Already.

Occupy Wall Street

A protest movement of liberals and anarchists, working through "sit-in" demonstrations in financial districts across the US. Their stated goal is to force criminal investigation and tighter regulation of the investment banking industry, though there was a lot of "mission creep" at their demonstrations as anyone with a reason to be unhappy joined in. Like the Tea Party, you become a member by publicly declaring sympathy with them, but conservatives also use it as an insult - according to the Right they're shiftless, lazy, and entitled, and their demonstrations are hotbeds of crime.

Category Traitors

American political culture is full of stereotypes, and failure to fit a stereotype can open someone up to mockery just as much as adhering to it too closely. Wealthy individuals who vote progressively and poor individuals who vote conservatively are clueless and have no idea where their own interests lie. Men who vote liberal are sensitive wimps or naive hippies, and women who vote conservative are prudish shrews or submissive doormats. And everyone apparently knows that African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities are fools to vote conservatively, regardless of their personal beliefs; whites, on the other hand, always vote for whichever party is popularly perceived as more racist.

Nationalists

See also Misplaced Nationalism

According to most people and media nowadays, every nationalist party or movement is the KKK, the neoconservative paleoconservative elite, or British National Party in disguise — though possibly for a different race. This goes double for people in first world countries, triple for people in world "superpower" nations, and quadruple... err... times infinity for people in the United States.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Some common complaints about PETA's policies can be refuted by a simple examination of their webpage. However, it's also worth noting that when it comes to PETA and certain other animal rights campaigners, the Animal Wrongs Group trope isn't entirely make-believe. Interestingly, PETA is widely disliked by many people and groups who agree with the fundamentals of their position, as many environmentalists believe that PETA makes it impossible for them to be taken seriously.

Incumbent politicians and those running for office

Because mocking them is only relevant for so long.

The People's Republic of China.

See also China Takes Over the World and Yellow Peril.

Film
  • To a large extent they've replaced the USSR as the Communist Big Bad (see, for example, Tomorrow Never Dies). Interestingly, for a few years after the fall of the USSR the new Russian Federation (often incorrectly called things like the "Russian Republic") became a brief stand-in for the USSR due to the common misconception that it remained as powerful. Crimson Tide and GoldenEye were good examples of this.
  • This was very much a Cold War era trope. Consider the James Bond films: the Red Chinese are Goldfinger's backers (1964), and in they tolerate Scaramanga operating out of their country (1974).
  • And then there's The Manchurian Candidate...

The government of Myanmar (Burma)

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Imagine a cheap knock-off of the USSR under Stalin, as performed by a junior high drama club. Then give them constant food shortages, an insane cult of personality around their leader, and enough missiles to wipe the capital of South Korea off the map. It can also be a stand-in for the People's Republic of China if you don't want to risk your movie getting Banned in China.

Live-Action TV
  • How bad is North Korea? It's like this: Jon Stewart had on a guy who wrote about his experiences helping North Koreans escape to the Freedom-Loving paradise that is...The People's Republic of China.

Video Games

Apartheid-era South Africa

Imagine an entire society with racism as its hat. Despite an awkward Cold War alliance with the U.S. and Britain, the apartheid regime was a pretty acceptable target in the West, especially for those on the left. And now that apartheid and the Cold War are gone, everyone who's not a neo-Nazi can comfortably denounce it in hindsight.

Robert Mugabe and the ZANU-PF

Feminists

Tend to be characterised as shrill misandrist harpies who twist any kind of male / female interaction, no matter how innocent, into a warped representation of male domination and violence against women and who, at the furthest extreme, actively wish to see men eradicated. In fiction, they're usually presented as physically unattractive, implying that they only think this way because they're too ugly/fat/hairy/whatever to get laid. They're also often presented as utterly humourless, absurdly politically correct and hypocritical lesbians who actively hate sex, especially if it involves a man. For such characters, feminism is a kind of reverse-chauvinism, rather than a movement for equality.

Real Life

Men's Rights Activists

Frequently characterized as bitter misogynists posting incoherent, hateful screeds on Reddit about "the gynocracy" and being "friendzoned" at their best and complete psychopaths who think that all rape and domestic violence victims are either liars trying to drum up support for their misandrist agendas or sluts who asked for it because they wanted the attention at worst, with the latter frequently having open support for famous rapists or anti-women extremists, as well as possibly being either domestic abusers themselves or straight-up budding serial killers. Popular culture portrayals are few and far between due to the very recent emergence of the movement, but when they do show up, expect fedora-clad Redditors who go on about being "nice guys" and whose support for the movement mostly comes from extreme resentment caused by being repeatedly rejected by women, which is almost always because of their obvious undesirability.
  • The TFL (True Forced Loneliness) movement probably emerged based on this mentality. But it consists mostly of middle aged basement dwellers posting rants to YouTube.
  • Somewhat related is the budding movement of American men who claim to be fed up with American women whom they perceive as superficial, selfish, and unattractive. These men often speak well of women in Asian countries where feminism is not part of the culture. Their answer to this is what many essentially perceive as sex tourism.
  • Some are men who completely opt out of dating women altogether out of fear of false allegation, but this is a related-yet-separate phenomenon called MGTOW (Men Going their Own Way) - but it is worthy to note that MGTOW has more relation to the MRM than aforementioned sex tourism.

Web Video

The Canadian Senate

Held in particularly low regard because Senators are appointed by the party in power and there is no input from the voting population. Since Senators also have very little actual power, they are generally perceived as useless party cronies with no redeeming traits. People outside of Canada may notice this stereotype echoed in Canadian-made shows.

Real Life
  • Similarly the British House of Lords, largely made up of political appointees but formerly with many hereditary aristocrats, is generally portrayed as full of incredibly ancient out-of-touch people who're either permanently asleep or actually dead.
    • To some extent, this reputation was even brought to American awareness when Saturday Night Live did a sketch about it (or was it the House of Commons?) where, among other things, Will Ferrell's character kept pushing a resolution to declare Oasis the greatest band ever. The other points of order were equally trivial and/or outright rude.
    • Recently the opinion of the House of Lords seems to be improving, because they're spending most of their time opposing nearly everything the government passes to them. The fights between the two are referred to as Parliamentary ping-pong, as both houses have to agree on something before it becomes law. While the Commons can invoke the Parliament Acts to push laws through, this is almost unheard-of as it's seen as undermining the democratic process and risks pushing the ruling party straight into this trope. (There is also the Salisbury Convention which states that if something is in the ruling party's manifesto, it should eventually be allowed to pass.)

People who vote for major parties

Characterized as broken down or unable to think for themselves. Obviously these people are brainwashed, there's no other reason they wouldn't vote for the right party.

People who don't vote for major parties

Characterized as stupid, naive or college students who only do it because they want to be different, and who often are considered to have wasted their vote, if not threw the election to the greater of two evils. Frequently overlaps with Communist, Green and Libertarian stereotypes.

Moral Guardians

Let's face it, trying to get media censored, often for sometimes trivial reasons, won't ever endear anyone to you. Especially nowadays.

Orly Taitz

She's waged a one-woman war on President Obama in regards to his birth certificate.

Liberals and Conservatives in general

Due to The War on Straw, people perceived as being, or who defend even a single position that is, far to the left or right of center politically are often portrayed as crazy or evil.

Real Life
  • Both are often portrayed as spoiled, wealthy folk who don't understand the value the working poor place on hard work (if liberal) or the hardships others face (if conservative). Both can be libertarian idealists who believe Rousseau Was Right or Ludd Was Right (liberals want to return to nature to save the Earth from man's machines, conservatives want to go back to a time before modern permissive society). Alternately, they are closet communists, nazis, elitists, etc. who believe Hobbes Was Right, because common folk can't be trusted.
    • Liberals and conservatives who aren't rich aren't immune, either. Working class liberals are hippies who think that abandoning all the technological progress made over the past 100 years will save the world, while working class conservatives blame anything bigger and/or different from them for all their problems.
  • Liberals also get portrayed as Cloud Cuckoolanders who don't see why others object to the Animal Wrongs Group or the Artistic License - Economics politician. Or trying to make friends with people who very obviously will never be your friends.
  • Conservatives are often portrayed as not really believing the positions they take; they are in it for the money. Alternately they are mindlessly devoted to outdated political, cultural, and religious beliefs and do not consider the consequences. Or they're sociopaths who vote against rape victims.
  • Both ideologies are actually split between elitist and "common-man" factions, with a different set of stereotypes for each.
  • The fact that a small minority of both groups (far more on the internet, due to GIFT) actually are like the above doesn't help matters.
  • Liberals get attacked by socialists, left-anarchists and other people on the "hard left" for only wanting to reform the system, not create a new one through revolution and being in their view Not So Different from the conservatives. These people point to the corporate funding of the Democratic party, its neoliberal policies, and support for foreign wars.
  • Similarly, many white supremacists hate modern-day conservatives and liberals for not being racist enough. In the United States, white supremacists also hate the Republican Party for its unflinching support of Israel and hate the Democratic Party which had supported their views on race for much of the history of the United States.

Democrats and Republicans in general

The latter is often portrayed as a warmongering Bible-thumping "party for the rich", while the former is often portrayed as a bunch of cowardly corporate sell-out hippies that constantly "betray their base" and that has moved too far to the political center in many key issues, if not being outright ineffectual. In many places both parties are portrayed as fully pro-war, fully pro-corporatism, and fully pro-big government, and both working for the Federal Reserve in taking away your constitutional rights.

Every single US president since JFK

JFK is often regarded in the media, especially in alternative news and conspiracy media as the last "true" American president. And every single president after his death was often seen as incompetent or compromising at best, or a corrupt puppet or pawn of either Israel, Big Corporations, the Military-Industrial complex or the Federal Reserve (pick one) at worst, and have often be seen in a Love It or Hate It light, especially George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the two most recent administrations, with each administrations being seen as merely a continuation of the former(this is Truth in Television as the mistakes of a former administration often dominate the succeeding one, but whether this is due to the incompetence or mistakes of a previous administration combined with a succeeding one or to continue or to advance a malicious corporate agenda while suppressing genuine populism is up for debate). The questions that emerged out of how JFK has been killed, and speculation of what he could have done had he not been killed(end the fed, avoid Vietnam) didn't help things either.
  • JFK himself gets this sometimes, especially on his own actions regarding Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and racial segregation in the south.
  • In fact it can also be said that every single president even before JFK gets some form of backlash by those critical of the American political system. This could be due to possible Values Dissonance on the worldviews of the early presidents on slavery, treatment of Native Americans and their support of Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine.
  • Reagan can be an exception to this amongst conservatives.

The entire Bush family Due to Bush's rather unpopular presidency, along with the failed War On Terror, the entire Bush family has been painted as this. From Prescott Bush's complicity in the business plot and helping the Nazis with rearming for WWII to George W Bush starting the Iraq war, the Bush family has had quite a shady history. As a result, they, especially George W. Bush have often become the butt of jokes along with the poster boy for a disastrous president. Many conspiracy theories spring from this backlash such as the Bushes having done 9/11 as a false flag along with being leader of The Illuminati/NWO/Bilderburg, or owning castles where they sacrifice children and eat babies.

Greens (as in the U.S. political party once represented by Ralph Nader)

Single Issue Wonks who don't care about anything but their overly naive brand of environmentalism. Their platform is actually a lot broader than that. In fact, the word "green" in their case might be said to stand for reform or renewal rather than the "woodsman-spare-that-tree" cliche.
  • Ralph Nader himself is also frequently made fun of as a politically irrelevant miscreant who gave the 2000 election to George W. Bush. (Although technically he was was unaffiliated with the Green Party after the 2000 election.) One joke told by Conan O'Brien: "Ralph Nader announced he's running for president again. Immediately after the announcement, the guy sitting next to Nader on the park bench told him to shut up."

The Australian federal government

Subject to the usual vitriol, but state and local governments in particular are often seen as incredibly corrupt and/or comically inept, and either way painfully underfunded and of questionable use.

Real Life
  • Former South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, the sole reason Australia doesn't have an R rating for video games. Unfortunately, his seat was pretty secure thanks to the votes of other old people who think video games are all Pac-Man. After he resigned, much progress was made on moving toward getting that R rating in place.
  • Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband and the Digital Economy, is rapidly becoming a target of scorn and laughter from virtually the entire internet, and even the American government, among others, got in on the scorning action! It's not just because he is pushing a plan to instate a mandatory internet filter across Australia. It's not just said filter has been proven in tests to be ineffective and detrimental to internet performance. It's more to do with the fact that he's still pushing the filter plan at every opportunity even though it's overwhelmingly unpopular and at this point has no chance of becoming a reality. Recently, the Labor Party dropped these attempts, no one complained except for the Family First Party.
  • John Howard, who somehow managed to be the second longest-serving Prime Minister in history (possibly because his opponents were either devoid of charisma or Mark Latham). Considered a toady to George W. Bush (who was an Acceptable Target overseas long before he was in the US), racist, miserly and looking kinda weird. It was a moment of glorious schadenfreude for a large part of the Australian public when not only did his party lose the election, but he lost his actual seat in the House of Representatives — becoming only the second Prime Minister in Australian history to suffer this (the first being in 1929).
  • Speaking of hated Australian political figures, Pauline Hanson and One Nation are considered the national mascots of racist, xenophobic, idiotic, trashy bogans led by a fish-and-chip shop owner and 'celebrity'. Even long after the One Nation furore blew over, Hanson was still pretty much everywhere milking the "celebrity" for all it was worth, memorably leaving Australia to emigrate to England... because she didn't like Australia's welcoming attitude to immigration... and then returning to Australia within a matter of months...
  • The Family First party have a rather deserved reputation for being fundamentalist, homophobic, heavy-handed and a large part of its leadership coming mostly from the congregation of a church that is very exclusive and selective of its members. They're also known for issuing contradicting statements and flip-flopping between sides on an issue depending on whether being deeply conservative is fashionable with the public. Their press conferences are very much a case of Think of the Children! personified.
    • Though not a political party, the Australian Christian Lobby is derided for similar reasons, and also for its support for the internet filter and opposition to the R rating for games, again both cases of Think of the Children!. More than that is their audacity in claiming and acting like they represent the interests of all Australian Christians, which they kind of don't. Their leader also gained some infamy for using ANZAC Day as an opportunity to denounce immigration and the legalisation of gay marriage as "unAustralian".
  • Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister, is susceptible to this owing to the circumstances which led to her taking the role; she's widely seen as The Starscream to her predecessor Kevin Rudd. The 2010 federal election which soon followed didn't help - her campaign was widely poked fun at for being inconsistent and unfocused, to the point that partway through she declared everything so far to be a mistake and said she'd change that and start being the "real Julia" (cue every Australian comedian trying to figure out who the "old Julia" was and what the "new Julia" did to her).
    • Her opponent, opposition leader Tony Abbott, doesn't fare much better for almost the exact same reasons. That, and how the most publicised event of his election campaign was, for some reason, him burning a pair of his speedos on live morning radio.
    • She didn't even make it to the 2013 election, when she was deposed by her own party in favour of, guess who, the same guy she kicked out in the first place, Kevin Rudd, in a mad dash attempt to save votes. It didn't work.
  • Now Tony Abbott is Prime Minister and is facing an even more vitriolic crowd. Most of the hatred comes from environmentalists, due to the fact that he scrapped various environmental policies for profit. He's also managed to alienate some of the people who voted him in by introducing a health care tax, raising the pension age to 70 and generally making life easier for the rich whilst punishing the middle-class for the crime of being middle-class. Students are his biggest haters, as he's made so many cuts to education as well as white-collar and arts-related professions that it seems like there's no point in learning anything.
    • His treasurer Joe Hockey doesn't get off any better. Joe's continuously treated as a penny-pinching miser who uses Australia's current budget deficit as an excuse to overtax and underpay anyone who isn't a tycoon.

Convicted Criminals

  • The general attitude is "screw them, they gave up all right to be a part of society"...and in many cases it doesn't matter what they're in prison for.
  • Scarier still is what certain people state they would do to the worst criminals. People you would never believe capable of wishing such a fate on another human being. But still, it's mostly in words only...
  • In the US, a sex offender has few to no life prospects left after conviction (whether he serves prison time or not). Many end up homeless and jobless with few opportunities. Those who express concern over these matters are often treated with suspicion and sometimes accused of being closet sympathizers.

Film
  • In The Dark Knight, there's a scene where two barges have been told they're laced with explosives. One is full of normal citizens, and the other with prisoners. Both barges have been told that unless they trigger a remote that will blow up the other barge, both will explode. The stance of most of the people on the non-prisoner barge is that they have more right to live because "those people made their choice, and they chose to break the law." No one on the barge points out that the barge also contains innocent guards and crew members.

Islamists

Can end up being painted as people who want everyone to be Muslim and take us back to The Dark Ages, or are all considered to be in league with Osama bin Laden (no Sunni/Shia divide here!) who is mentioned on Godwin's Law for this very reason. The fact there are a number of political parties opposed to Islamic immigration that paint a view very similar to this doesn't help much. The Islamist advocacy of using Sharia as a "source of legislation" riles up Western Islamophobes and Muslim secularists alike; it doesn't help that it's often unclear what this means to the specific Islamist group in question (for some it means "our proposals for secular laws will be inspired by Islamic religious ones, in much the same way that laws in the West are influenced by Christian morality; if you don't agree, we'll debate it in Parliament", while for others it means "our extremely strict interpretations of Scripture will be imposed on everyone whether they like it or not").

The Fox News Channel , or any news organization for that matter

Despite its slogan being "fair and balanced", its reporting on political events is often accused of leaning in favor of the Republicans and conservatives and it often gets hit hard with examples of the Strawman News Media, which is why it is frequently subject to the Ban on Politics. Other reasons, both concerning political coverage and otherwise, involve its rather sloppy journalistic practices, and quite a few people have noted that many of the stories presented are often seen as Facepalm-invoking or a Tear Jerker. Of course in fairness news organizations in general are also subjected to this in that pretty much every news organization (and for that matter, every news journalist) has often have issues showing their biases and preferences when it comes to presenting the news. The sayings that "No News...is Good News" and "If it bleeds, it leads" pretty much sums it up.

Film
  • The film Network is all about satirizing these organizations.

Live-Action TV

Web Original
  • The Onion is pretty much a satire of news in general.

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons mocked Fox News about their political leanings a few times which was so acrimonious that Fox nearly sued itself over it.
    • For example, Not racist, but #1 with racists.
    • We're unbalanced and it's unfair!
  • Family Guy had an entire episode mocking Fox News.

Other
  • RT news has been accused as a Russian propaganda machine, as it tends to air anti-western articles even that from conspiracy theorists. However, because it tends to report on arguably concerning issues in the West(the NDAA controversy comes to mind) that are often overlooked, it has a large following among those online and those in America that do not trust the government. The Iranian Press TV has a similar following among people with anti-American sentiments.
  • When the votes were coming out in the wake of the 2008 election, Megyn Kelly called out Karl Rove for engaging in "math Republicans use to make themselves feel better", as he was trying to spin the factors any way he could to say that Romney was on the verge of victory in Ohio.

Government itself

To a large degree. Virtually every type of government has been presented as the villain at least once; some that come in for a larger share are autocracies, corrupt democracies (democratic in appearance, but really plutocratic or dynastic), empires and monarchies.

Monarchies

Usually treated as lazy, greedy and exploitative people who take advantage of their people. The luxury of their facilities doesn't help that much, also. Note that this has been more or less a Dead Horse Trope for the past half century, but before that it was deadly serious.
  • Still very much a reality for modern day Monarchists who live in countries that were Monarchies a century ago or less who are sometimes viewed negatively in media in their nations and VERY negatively for monarchists who actively support a restoration.
    • Goes double for Germany, Monarchists are compared to Fascists and Neo Nazis. This is mostly the neonazis' fault for using monarchical flags since the swastika is banned, but its also because the Patriotism among monarchist supporters is viewed as dangerous. Again, because of the neonazis.

The Lib Dems

In Britain, the Lib Dem stereotype has recently changed drastically. Up until the first TV debate of the 2010 General Election, they were considered a party with no chance of ever getting any power, and the usual candidate for protest votes. Several months, a coalition, and a lot of broken promises later, they have become a by-word for spineless, power-grabbing hypocrites.

Any extremist political faction (Far-left, far-right, etc)

While most people wouldn't admittedly classify themselves as "extremists", these do, unfortunately exist, though extremists tend to think of themselves as the "true" representation of their affiliation's ideals. Often ridiculed as fringe lunatics (and considered either dangerous) not only by the mainstream, but also by more moderate members of the same group, who tend to disown the extremists. Of course the debate on what makes one a ''true member'' of a particular group and just where the line is crossed over into crazy territory continues on in the calm, rational manner that such "civil discourse" is known for. Naturally, this doesn't prevent opponents from using the extreme examples as their go-to insult for a given group, considering Communism was historically a far-left political philosophy, and Fascism was far-right.

U.S. Homeland Security and the Protect Act Both were created in the interest of protecting American citizens from the threats of terrorism and sexual perversion. It goes both ways. Those who favor these new policies are accused of being "sheeple". Those who feel that these policies go too far in some aspects are accused of being one of the groups targeted: mainly terrorists and child molesters.
  • This brings to mind invasion of privacy and the government spying on and profiling normal citizens, especially if they are of a certain ethnicity or creed that is associated with terrorism. There is also the rising reports of TSA seizures of laptops and smartphones at airports in the search for terrorist information or child pornography.
  • Harsh punishments for minor offenses pertaining to obscenity or indecency. In some states, a man can be punished for the rest of his life for consensual sex with a slightly underage girl, even if there was only a year or two difference between their ages and even if they are both underage. In some states, urinating in public qualifies a person for the sex offender registry. In Florida, artist Mike Diana was convicted of obscenity by publishing the comic book Boiled Angel. Part of his sentence was that he was not allowed to draw. In 2011, an Iowa man was convicted of possession of obscene material (via the Miller Test) when his manga order from Japan was opened by postal empoyees without his permission (and without good reason) and the police contacted. Being of modest means, he pled guilty rather than face a lengthy, stressful, and undoubtedbly expensive court trial.

Geert Wilders
  • Easily one of the most controversial political figures in the entire BENELUX (and possibly even world-wide, him wanting to remove all immigrants from his home country is just one of the reasons why). Often being portrayed as the extreme right activist that makes all other extreme right activists look tame by comparison, to the point that people want to call him fascist intead of extreme-right.

Web Original
  • It probably tells us a lot that even US cartoonists portray him this way.

Anything political in general

You name it, you can always find a way/reason to hate/bash it.

Comic Books
  • This Sluggy Freelance strip demonstrates that sometimes you don't even need to specify what political group you think is living excrement.

Video Games
  • The Elder Scrolls: The dark elf House Telvanni, In-Universe. The In-Game Novel The Horror of Castle Xyr contains the following exchange between Clavides, an Imperial soldier, and Anara, a servant to a Telvanni nobleman.
    Anara: Please, serjo, go wherever you want. We got nothing to hide. We're loyal Imperial subjects.
    Clavides: As, I hear, are all Telvanni.
    (Note from the playwright: this line should be delivered without sarcasm. Trust the audience to laugh — it never fails, regardless of the politics of the locals.)

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