Rob Lowe said recently that he would be up for a West Wing reunion if Aaron Sorkin wrote it. Here, The Politic Blog predicts what Sorkin might have in store for the political drama’s reunion special.

The 2014 elections are just around the corner, and you know what that means! What’s that you say — midterms… Mitch McConnell… Koch brothers…? No, no, no. I’m talking about the much more important election, the one in which every character looks like Aaron Schock and a heartfelt speech can cancel out even the most aggressive of ad buys. I’m talking, of course, about the 2014 race for President of Aaron Sorkin’s America.[i]

In this reunion special, the second Santos term is winding to a close. Despite the ex-congressman’s wild popularity, polls indicate that all of the possible Democratic candidates are trailing Sen. Cliff Calley (R-VA), a former Hill staffer with bipartisan credentials and the Republicans’ presumptive 2014 nominee. While Santos’ sound fiscal policies have insulated his party against attacks on economic matters, and Congress’ recent actions have decisively resolved budding conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Equatorial Kundu, and the Lang Court’s unanimous decision limiting outside spending in federal elections has forever curbed the influence of moneyed interests (isn’t fantasizing fun?!), sixteen straight years with one party in the Oval Office has convinced much of the country that it’s time for a change.

All of which brings us to today’s fateful episode: President Santos has convened a nighttime meeting for his closest aides — Chief of Staff Josh Lyman, Deputy Chief of Staff Sam Seaborn, FLOTUS Chief of Staff Donna Moss, Communications Director Louise Thornton, Director of Legislative Affairs Amy Gardner, Senior Policy Advisor Joey Lucas, White House Counsel Charlie Young, crotchety-yet-lovable-outside-advisor Toby Ziegler, and the dynamic new DNC chair (played by guest star Lupita N’yong-o). CJ Cregg-Concannon, who occasionally advises the administration, shows up late after an evening of karaoke. Will Bailey’s not invited.

After a short but spirited debate about what take-out to order — half favor their regular Chinese restaurant, while the rest prefer a recently-popularized ribs place called Freddy’s — Santos’ political dream team gets down to business.

First, they ponder the candidates that chose not to run. Vice President Eric Baker is an old man at this point (and lacking all the sassy awesome of his real-world counterpart) and National Security Advisor Kate Harper is opting instead to work for the UN once the next president is inaugurated. Maryland Governor Andrea Wyatt decided the campaign would be too taxing for her teenage twins, while on the other side of the aisle Secretary Arnold Vinick sadly passed away last spring. (Don’t worry: President Santos killed it — sorry… — with a profound eulogy.)

Josh spearheads discussion of the current Democratic field, a motley crew of governors and senators that his staff quickly dispenses of with a handful of scathing similes. The group relives the political battles of old — recalling Bartlet’s sole 2002 debate and Sam’s ill-fated congressional run. They patch in Ainsley Hayes via Skype for a conservative take. (Ainsley struggles to get her laptop’s microphone working, which riles Old Man Ziegler to no end but makes Sam smile in that way only Rob Lowe can smile. Classic Ainsley!) At this point, the night has worn on considerably and CJ leads a few staffers down to the mess for a quick snack of apples and peanut butter. Sam, Josh and Donna stretch their legs with a good ole-fashioned walk-and-talk, while Charlie makes a cryptic phone call. Cut to commercial.

As the meeting reconvenes, it’s quite clear that the gang is badly divided. Joey favors the most electable candidate — some white dude from the John Hoynes wing of the party — while Amy makes an impassioned plea for a fiery liberal woman. “If only Calley weren’t just so darn moderate and likable,” Donna exclaims, clearly frazzled by her former boyfriend’s Sorkinesque support for marriage equality and embrace of comprehensive immigration reform.

Just as the situation starts to look truly hopeless, a signature W. G. Snuffy Walden soundtrack begins to hum in the background. Shots of shiny black shoes winding through the halls of the White House flash across the screen. Charlie grins as the doors to the Roosevelt Room are thrown open and the recipient of his cryptic phone call is revealed: former President Josiah Edward Bartlet (accompanied, of course, by his timelessly radiant wife Abbey).

The aging statesman may be suffering visibly from the MS that once nearly destroyed his political career, but he still carries himself with an ineffable dignity, a grandfatherly appeal that makes you want to hug his knees and beg him to run for a third term. The awestruck staff sits in silence as Bartlet begins his monologue, a remarkable soliloquy about patriotism, and big solutions to big problems, and national unity, and The Future. No Democrat will be able to beat Calley, he concedes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Oh sure, the party should run a candidate for the sake of our adversarial democracy, but they should also ready themselves for a Calley administration and view the election as an opportunity to bring the country together on the issues that unite us all. One by one, the veteran staffers around the table begin to smile. Finally, just Josh is left with a tight frown and an impossibly creased forehead.

“But…” he stammers to Bartlet, “we’re Democrats!”

“No,” the former commander-in-chief says, laying his hand on Josh’s shoulder, “we’re Americans.”

(Roll credits)

 

[i] Fun fact for the West Wing novices amongst you: While real presidential elections occur in nice, round, divisible-by-four years like 2000, every one of Sorkin’s quadrennial contests took place during what we think of as the midterm years. So 2014, eight years after Congressman Matthew Santos (D-TX) was first elected, is time for another Sorkin-tacular presidential race!

Published by Eric Stern

Eric Stern, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is Editor-in-Chief of The Politic.

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