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Film / Swing Vote

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Swing Vote is a 2008 American comedy-drama directed by Joshua Michael Stern and starring Kevin Costner as a man whose one vote will determine the entire US presidential election in a dramatic turn of events.

The film also stars Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, George Lopez, and Madeline Carroll.

It was released on August 1, 2008.


Tropes for the film:

  • Ambiguous Ending: The audience is never shown who Johnson actually voted for.
  • Bags of Letters: The drunken hick, Johnson, (Costner) is holding the future of the country in his hands receives a number of these that he is too lazy to check. As a result, his daughter does her best to answer them, just to make the people sending them feel that someone's listening. At the end of the movie, Johnson uses the letters to question the politicians, thus cutting through the B.S. and getting their real opinions, as well as responsibly representing the American people.
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  • Decided by One Vote: The presidential election is tied to the point of depending on the state of New Mexico's electoral votes. The state, however, is tied to the point of depending on a single precinct, which is waiting for one vote: That of Johnson's. He is lobbied- individually- by both candidates. (His phone has been cut off, so the candidates even make TV commercials directed at him.) Eventually, he moderates a debate between the two, asking questions sent in by voters nationwide, and ultimately makes a decision, however the decision is not revealed.
  • Election Day Episode: The premise of the movie, as Bud Johnson, through an unusual set of circumstances, is forced to recast an illegible ballot that will break the tie for New Mexico's Electoral votes and by extension decide the Presidential election.
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  • Perspective Reversal: In an attempt to pander to vague and/or personal statements made by Johnson during news interviews, the presidential candidates go as far as to switch their policy positions, resulting in a liberal Republican who supports more environmental regulations and a conservative Democrat who advocates for increased border security (and whose name happens to be Donald).

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