• Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
Veep

HBO

This is it. Tonight we should know who the next president of the United States will be.

Whoever you're voting for this year (and surely you're planning on voting today, if you haven't turned in your ballot already—any questions about where to go, go here), the nation is fairly in agreement about the fact that this has been one long campaign season—and that there's never been a presidential race quite like this one.

Meanwhile, whether you consider it escapism or too close to home, leaders are always being elected right and left (no pun intended) on TV and in movies. And just like in real life, when one is elected, that means another candidate has to lose. But such is the nature of politics—and entertainment.

Both the big and small screens have provided an embarrassment of riches when it comes to engrossing elections, be they dramatic, hilarious, heartwarming, terrifying or a combination of all four (i.e. pretty realistic). So before you surrender your day to cable news, Twitter or however else you plan on keeping up with the returns—or before you retreat into your recovery cave—take a look at some of these memorable election moments onscreen.

SPOILER ALERT: Results/plot twists are included...

Election: Hillary Clinton has actually drawn comparisons to Tracy Flick, Reese Witherspoon's super-driven, Type A candidate for class president in this satirical dark comedy about politics, popularity and how some kids are more grown-up than the grownups are.

Elections Onscreen GIFs

ScandalEven if you're a big ol' unstable mess, you're in the running to become the next POTUS. In Shondaland, we mean! Lucky(?) for Sen. Mellie Grant, she's got her husband's mistress and fixer extraordinaire Olivia Pope running her campaign.

Elections Onscreen GIFs

The Manchurian CandidateNow this was a hacked election—only it was Lawrence Harvey's brain that was infiltrated in the 1962 classic. Angela Lansbury is the Communist agent mastermind behind a plot to have her brainwashed son assassinate their own party's presidential candidate in order to get her wannabe-demagogue senator husband atop the ticket. Luckily Frank Sinatra figures it all out or else...well, that could've been bad.

Elections Onscreen GIFs

The West Wing: Aaron Sorkin-scripted elections are perfect: Everyone says the right thing, even when they don't, and all that walking and talking actually leads somewhere. First Martin Sheen's President Josiah Bartlet wins a second term in a landslide on the strength of four Emmy wins for Best Drama Series.

Elections Onscreen GIFs

And when power changes hands at the end of the series' seven-season run, Jimmy Smits' Rep. Matt Santos promises at least another four years (though we know it's gonna be eight) of idealistic, optimistic governing. 

Just like real life!

Elections Onscreen GIFs

The Campaign: Zach Galifianakis is the clueless yet kindhearted stooge picked by two corporate titans to run against Will Ferrell's deranged incumbent congressman Cam Brady for his North Carolina seat—and yes, Cam really does end up punching a baby.

Elections Onscreen GIFs

Parks and RecreationWas anything more inspiring than devoted public servant Leslie Knope blowing Bobby Newport out of the water at the end of their debate for City Council?

Elections Onscreen GIF

NBC

BulworthWarren Beatty directed himself in this oddly prescient 1998 comedy about a suicidal senator who's losing his reelection campaign but experiences a rapid turnaround in the polls when he starts telling it like it is—largely through rap lyrics. A supporting nod goes to Pras, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Mýa's seminal hit off the platinum-selling soundtrack, "Ghetto Supastar."

Elections Onscreen GIFs

House of Cards: Kevin Spacey is more evil caricature than candidate at this point—but that's why we believe President Francis Underwood more than ever when he vows, "We don't submit to terror. We make the terror."

Elections Onscreen, GIFs

Netflix

Swing VoteAn irregular ballot cast by Kevin Costner's unemployed everyman, who was only registered in the first place thanks to his precocious young daughter, is holding up the entire presidential election and goes on to be wooed by both parties in this obviously very realistic comedy.

Elections Onscreen, GIFs

The Candidate: Robert Redford plays a governor's charismatic son who gets pulled into the presidential race only so that there's someone running against the Republican already in office—and yet...he wins! Moral of the story: Never bet against Robert Redford.

Elections Onscree, GIFs

VeepSelina Meyer's campaign to hang onto the presidency after backing into the job when POTUS resigned is pretty much a disaster from start to finish—but the vain, delusional hope throughout was what sold the Emmy-winning series' fifth season.

Elections Onscreen GIF

HBO

South ParkAll the way back in 2004, Stan learned a very important lesson about voting after Kyle and Cartman successfully rallied to get a "Giant Douche" and a "Turd Sandwich" on the ballot to be South Park Elementary's new mascot.

Feeling better about the democratic process? Good—now go vote!

If you don't know where your designated polling place is, you can find out here.