Election Fear


Purge: Election Year (out on DVD in October), the third installation of the Purge series, could be the most idiotic yet. The old sci-fi trope underpinning the movies—society sets aside one 24-hour period to "purge" its violent tendencies with a criminal free-for-all—could go in plenty of interesting directions, but Election Year misses them all.

In the film, the Purge is referred to as a product of "predatory capitalism," with no explanation other than a vaguely Keynesian assertion that the destruction has eliminated unemployment.

Purge America has been controlled by the same party for 25 years—the "New Founding Fathers," an incoherent caricature of the left's worst fears about conservatives, who have mobilized white supremacists and co-opted Catholicism to endorse the annual slaughter.

In this silly political fantasy, elections are still contested, free, and open, a telling delusion illustrative of the disconnect in contemporary politics between how good things often are and how awful politicians claim them to be.