Warning: This article contains spoilers from the first season of “The Politician.”
Will it be Manhattan State Senator Payton Hobart?
Just when it seemed like Hobart’s fantastical presidential ambitions were crushed, the wild world of politics has afforded him another chance to keep the dream alive on the other side of the country.
Season two of Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” is slated to hit Netflix on June 19, giving viewers much-needed quarantine content just days before New York’s June 23 Democratic primary elections take place.
Ben Platt’s college student with Oval Office ambitions shifts coasts, aims for New York State Senate
Hobart, the young, obsessive, meticulous political whiz portrayed by out gay star Ben Platt, had been dead-set on carving a career path that will lead to the Oval Office: He engaged in a contentious election for student body president at his Santa Barbara, California, high school, doing just about anything to get his way, all while stubbornly strong-arming anything in the way of a collegiate future that aligns with the educational pedigrees of previous American presidents. And yet, in the backdrop, he struggles with his sexuality and suppresses his feelings as he focuses more intensely on politics.
Although Hobart succeeded in winning the election for student body president in rather anticlimactic fashion, his future was derailed when the explosive political scandals behind his victory surfaced. Entering the new season, he is presented with a series of new realities: He moved from California to New York to attend college, his mother (Gwyneth Paltrow) finally started to find love — with a woman (Martina Navratilova) — and Hobart’s filthy rich adoptive father disavowed him and his mother, leaving him in financial limbo.
But Hobart, who has been demoralized and drinking heavily in the Big Apple, seems to have recaptured some motivation after his old campaign team and his one-time opponents huddled together and hatched a new plan: He would run an insurgent campaign for State Senate in Manhattan against Majority Leader Dede Standish (Judith Light), who is accustomed to running unopposed and is in the mix to become a vice presidential candidate. Standish’s chief of staff, Hadassah Gold (Bette Midler), appears to be caught by surprise when she is watching television and learns that Hobart would be vying to unseat her boss.
For what it’s worth, Standish represents the 27th District, which is occupied in real life by out gay State Senator Brad Hoylman. Whether that’s intentional or not, it is conceivable that Hobart would, if elected, feel more comfortable opening up about his sexuality in that district.
But in order to get there, he’ll have to navigate the rigors of a campaign that will undoubtedly touch on his previous scandals. As it turns out, however, Hobart isn’t the only one saddled with baggage entering the campaign. The final portion of the first season of “The Politician” hinted at Standish’s secret personal life, possibly fueling an opportunity for Hobart to seize the moment and expose his new rival.
The show’s cast does features additional queer representation beyond Platt. James Sullivan, a top aide to Hobart, is portrayed by non-binary actor Theo Germaine, while out lesbian actress Rahne Jones plays a non-binary character, Skye. Not to mention that Hobart’s mother’s new squeeze is portrayed by Navratilova, the out lesbian tennis icon who has made headlines in recent years for criticizing the rights of transgender girls and women to participate in sports.
And, of course, any project featuring Bette Midler and Judith Light always has queer appeal.
Heading into the second season, the looming campaign in a new environment and city will certainly shake up the show, all while other storylines are set to play out: What’s the latest with Hobart’s mother? Will his peers from high school succeed in propelling him to public office? Will he get one step closer to his goal of reaching the presidency?
We’ll begin to find out the answers to those questions on June 19!
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