Monday Match-Ups: Abraham Lincoln vs. Frank Underwood

House of Cards The Setup

 There are two types of politicians in the world. Those that are honest, trustworthy and smart, and those who are tricky, manipulative and arrogant. There are also the politicians who don’t seem to do anything, but that wouldn’t make for an interesting matchup. With that in mind, this week we take the historical goody-two shoes Abraham Lincoln, and match him against the fictional master scoundrel Frank Underwood from the television show House of Cards to see who would win the prestigious title of high school president.

The Contenders

Abraham Lincoln:
Frank Underwood:

The Verdicts

Allen: I’ve always been a fan of high school election episodes of sitcoms, mostly due to how they play with the characters’s motivations in interesting ways. The nerdy kid runs for president, the popular one seems to be the winner by a landslide due to bribery or other populist tactics, and then the underdog wins in the end because people like a president who will actually help them in the long run.

Since this is a high school election though, and it’s between two political masters, the situation is a little bit more complicated. While Frank Underwood has the tact and ruthlessness of a perfect Shakespearean villain, I can only imagine him being the awkward kid in the election who wears suits all the time. In the other corner, you’ve got Abe Lincoln, who was known to be quite the likable, if not grossly unattractive young man. Let me set one thing straight before I declare my choice; Underwood is a better politician. He’s heartless, clever, and he has this incredible ability to make one think that they are in control of their own words and actions, even as he pulls the strings from behind a velvet curtain. But Abe is just plain honest, like his nickname says. In a fictional, “Clone High meets Community” episode (which sounds amazing if you think about it), Frank has this election in the bag. But in real life, or in the real life that is Monday Match-Up, Mr. Lincoln just knows his audience perfectly. He could list out ten ideas for a new and improved water fountain maintenance system, and students would just eat it up. Underwood would sell you on some lofty goal of no homework and mandatory nap time, but it’s all dust in the wind at the end of the day. If we’re being completely honest, Abe takes the win.

Magellan: As both a history major and a lover of television, this Match-Up is particularly troubling for me. On the one hand, I feel the urge to champion a man who has been regarded for over a century as one of the most important presidents in American history. On the other, I can’t help but shake my timid appreciation for Frank Underwood’s unyielding political cunning. In any regular election, Underwood may have his work cut out for him, having to compete against such a towering figure and brilliant orator. However, since this is a high school election, I think things end up being a little simpler. Sure, Lincoln was an influential man, but by all accounts he had a funny voice and he was given to rambling anecdotes. Couple that with his lankiness and you have the recipe for a real nerd, for the kind of class election candidate who, while people may nod for after hearing a speech, would not be taken seriously by the student body. Underwood has the clear advantage, with his flashy, modern political edge and his valuing power over integrity. Plus, if push comes to shove, he has television-star good looks to fall back on, whereas Abe just has that weird cheek bump thing. Although, in his defense he has a rad beard and a cool hat, which the kids may find pretty “gnarly.” It’s just so hard to keep track of the fashions these days.

James: To look at the contestants, first we need to look at their standing in the school. Neither of the two contestants is particularly handsome or popular. Abe, though on the wrestling team would be far too tall and gawky to be accepted, whereas Underwood would probably have been captain of the debate team. In order for either of them to win, they would have to be at the top of their game. Abe would probably opt for honesty and good political leadership. This approach, while effective for the United States Presidency, would pale in the face of a shallow high school position. Underwood would opt for something much more underhanded. Perhaps he would strike a deal with the teachers of the school, or cash in favors for the different clubs. Somehow, some way, Underwood would manage to force Lincoln out of the running, possibly besmirching his honest title in a debate that leaves poor old Abe looking like a loser. Either way, Underwood would ensure a victory for himself.

The Results

Frank Underwood wins 2-1

Well, now it looks like the school is in trouble. With Underwood in office, the school will certainly be a much more interesting place. Expect to see major lobbying firms ruling the high school, while Frank mysteriously earns piles of cash. Looks like math class in not the only place we’re going to see some graft. (Do you get it? Because it sounds like graph? I don’t know why I even try.) Anyways, let’s save the politics till next November.