On Friday, two of the biggest political events of the year collide, as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) continues in National Harbor, Md., and …the Netflix original series House of Cards premieres its third season.
It'll be hard, especially at the conference, not to conflate the two. In fact, we thought some of the Republicans speaking at CPAC could make good characters on House of Cards. Consider their alter egos:
Frank Underwood —> New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Both had their eyes on the presidency for a long time. That perception is tanking Christie's approval ratings at home in New Jersey. But both of these men seem to be willing to do whatever it takes to get there. (Bridgegate, anyone?) OK, maybe there's a slight difference.
Peter Russo —> Texas Gov. Rick Perry. A once-promising but down-on-his-luck politician who has a chance at a revival. Perry's attempt should go better, even if he doesn't get to the White House.
Zoe Barnes —> Sen. Rand Paul. Both have promising careers. Both have severe dad issues that threaten to hold them up.
President Garrett Walker —> Jeb Bush. Not because of the whole impeachment thing. Simply, Jeb Bush is the frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination at this point, and a moderate, middle-of-the-road guy. You think he'll be there at the end, but it's no sure thing.
Vice President Jim Matthews —> John Bolton. A guy who's had his time in the spotlight and knows his role. Eventually, in this presidential contest, Bolton will bow out and go back to doing what he does best—in his case, it's as a talking head.
Sen. Curtis Haas —> Ted Cruz. Haas was essentially based on the real-life Cruz. He had a "caucus" of 15 senators behind him, much in the same way Cruz has shaken things up in the Senate. But we never really heard from him other than that budget fight in House of Cards — can Cruz take ideological purity to the next level?
Donald Blythe —> Scott Walker. Though they're on opposite sides of the political spectrum, Blythe and Walker are similar in their ideological purities. Walker is a darling on the right. But Blythe knows when to give in for his own political good and move up. Will Walker do the same and broaden his appeal?
Freddy Hayes —> Ben Carson. Both had nothing to do with politics until politics found them. Now they both can't get out, even if they wanted to (we don't think Carson does).
Jackie Sharp —> Marco Rubio. Both are stars within the party. Both confronted with moral dilemmas at times (Rubio on immigration, specifically). Both foreign policy buffs.
Nancy Kaufberger —> Rick Santorum. Willing to help the party however possible, but won't ever be a major candidate or player. Especially not this time around.
Catherine Durant —> Sarah Palin. Durant had basically become a pawn for Frank Underwood by the end of Season 2, just like Palin has become a pawn to whatever will keep endearing her with her now-dwindling following. Her political clout is seriously on the downswing.
Doug Stamper —> Donald Trump. Neither will ever be president, but somehow, they wage pretty considerable influence behind the scenes.
Adam Galloway —> Mike Huckabee. Like Galloway was for Claire Underwood, Huckabee will be a temptation for some Republican voters. A look to the past. But perhaps after a fling in Iowa, they'll get over him again in favor of more electable candidates.
But there's one character who no politician can really do justice. For that, we need a different comparison…
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.
Elena Scotti is a New York-based visual artist and Fusion’s senior photo editor and illustrator. She eats more pizza than your entire family combined.