Primary Colors: A Lesson about Legitimacy

Directed by Mike Nichols, the film “Primary Colors” is effective in teaching future candidates and campaign consultants the value of legitimacy.  The movie conveys various realities of political life such as the presence of media slander, campaign advertising, and political debates.  Further, the film depicts a complex portrait of a candidate played by profound actor John Travolta.  The main character of the film and former Georgia senator Jack Stanton is portrayed as a presidential candidate of whom overcomes his various obligatory flaws and finds a way to succeed.  Moreover, presidential candidate Jack Stanton depicts a man of great confidence and exceptional passion toward his political beliefs.  However, the complexity of Jack Stanton revolves around his various mishaps occurring previous to the election.  As a result, the media attempts to expose Stanton as an illegitimate candidate.  For example, the making of a false slanderous tape recording suggesting Stanton has had previous sexual relations with a young woman during his term as senator is played on national television.  Further, following the dismissal of the tape recording’s authenticity, rumors suggesting Jack Stanton’s participation in sexual intercourse with a 17 year-old black girl erupt.  Nevertheless, Stanton is able to overcome all and any adversity aimed at him as he ultimately goes on to win the presidential election.

            “Primary Colors” illustrates an in depth prospective following the course of presidential candidate Jack Stanton’s campaign strategies and political views.  Moreover, Stanton’s campaign manager Henry Burton is portrayed as a young, African American male seeking to represent a presidential candidate who is truly legitimate and sincere in upholding to his promises and beliefs.  Further, the film closely monitors the relationship between Stanton and Burton throughout the campaign.  The emergence of alleged stories emerging claiming that Stanton is a sexual predator Burton begins to doubt his decision to be Jack Stanton’s campaign manager.  However, Stanton shortly relieves Burton’s concerns stating that the rumors of him having relations with a 17 year-old black girl are completely false.  Furthermore, following the emergence of Governor Fred Picker poising as a legitimate challenger to Stanton in the election, Stanton decides to send campaign manager Henry Burton and Libby Holden to seek out “dirt” on Picker.  In merely one day Burton and Holden succeed in attaining information that proves Governor Fred Picker’s heavy involvement with cocaine in previous years.  However, when Burton and Holden present their findings to Stanton and his wife Susan, Holden becomes emotional and discourages the use of this information given the acts immorality.  Nonetheless, both Stanton and Susan disregard Holden’s advice in turn leading to the suicide of Libby Holden.  Shortly following Holden’s suicide, Stanton comes to the realization that it is in deed immoral and wrong of him to use negative information regarding his opponents past as a method of winning the election.  Hence, Stanton makes the decision to meet face to face with opponent Fred Picker, handing over the paperwork that proves Picker’s previous involvement with cocaine.  Stanton goes on to assure Picker that he will not use any slanderous information whatsoever against him during the election.  As a result, Picker emotionally thanks Stanton for his moral action and tells him that he will be resigning from the election.  Thus, Stanton continues his campaign in a legitimate, sincere fashion and becomes the victor of the election.  In final analysis, it appears evident that following the suicide of Holden, Jack Stanton was able to take a step back and reflect upon his morals.  I believe that Holden’s Suicide ultimately transformed Stanton into a candidate who would rather abide to his morals and honesty, than attack his opponent with negative information just so he can secure a victory.

            In conclusion, the movie “Primary Colors” successfully teaches future candidates and campaign consultants about the significance of being honest and legitimate.  In addition, Jack Stanton exemplifies a candidate who despite having numerous flaws, remains strong to his core beliefs and overcomes any and all adversity by means of honesty and legitimacy.  Nonetheless, while Jack Stanton was not by any means a perfect candidate, he was unique in his ability to avoid the use of attacks upon his opponents despite the numerous attacks aimed at him.  Hence, the film finds success in teaching future candidates and campaign consultants about the value of legitimacy.







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