Well, here you go folks. The political analysis many people have been clamoring for is here: It’s time to definitively say which Fast and the Furious franchise character each of the 2020 presidential candidates are. That’s right, race fans—we’re taking one of the least political and most entertaining series of the past two decades and shoehorning in as much contemporary politics as we possibly can.
Are you ready? All right. Buckle up.
Beto O’Rourke: Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson)
Like Beto O’Rourke, Roman Pierce is a fast-talking, charismatic guy who somehow finds himself running with a field of much more qualified friends. Roman is a great driver and performs admirably in 2 Fast 2 Furious (aka the 2018 Texas Senate race) but he’s often the first one to shy away from daring plans or risks (see: being afraid to jump out of the plane in Furious 7/announcing any sort of comprehensive policy goals). He doesn’t really bring anything particularly special to the table, but welp, there he is!
Elizabeth Warren: Tej Parker (Ludacris)
That’s right, baby. Elizabeth Warren is Tej Parker. Think about it: one of the smartest members of the crew, the mastermind behind many of the technical aspects of the crew’s daring plans, yet consistently overlooked by the attention-grabbing frontrunners like Dom Toretto and Brian O’Connor. Tej is an all-round good dude, cool under pressure, and way more likable than many of his prickly peers in the crew. Dom and Brian may get the headlines, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty details, Tej is always the one who has a plan.
Joe Biden: Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker [R.I.P.])
Joe Biden has gotta be Brian. One of the longest-standing figures in the crew, O’Connor’s unlikely partnership with an immensely popular community hero makes him an immediate leader of all future schemes and heists (or elections). (Dom is Obama in this metaphor but not for the larger purposes of this piece, which I am going to retcon to fit the greater plot of this blog. If Tokyo Drift is allowed to do it, so am I.) Brian is largely the centrist of the Fast family, struggling to temper Dom’s brash plans with whatever the cop/ authority figures want him to do. And while he’s been absent from some installments of the franchise (the 2016 election), it’s always a good bet that we’ll see him again.
Bernie Sanders: Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel)
Bernie always had to be Dom. The emotional heart of the crew, the one whom allies and enemies alike set their sights on whenever there’s a crisis. Dominic is the one whose ideals brought the family together; he’s not always the easiest to get along with and can be fiercely singleminded at times, but without him the crew wouldn’t exist as we know it.
Kamala Harris: Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson)
Hobbs is, for lack of a better word, just a big ol’ cop. While he can be convinced to work outside the lines of the law—as Harris has been convinced to move further left—at his heart Hobbs is always going to side with the authorities. That said, when faced with a truly despicable outlaw like Deckard Shaw (or Brett Kavanaugh), Hobbs breaks out the big guns, which in his case are actually big guns (and his arms). In Harris’s case, it’s her background as a hard-nosed prosecutor, which often leads to some good moments of committee-chamber destruction.
Tulsi Gabbard: Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)
Like Deckard Shaw, Tulsi Gabbard is a vindictive former soldier who has no qualms about cozying up to far greater evils to achieve her goals. She happily exists in a grey area of morality. Deckard Shaw, an antihero if I’ve ever seen one, is being groomed as a protagonist in the spinoff film Hobbs & Shaw, and has worked alongside the crew many times, despite the fact that he killed Han. Fast fans who accept Shaw as a sympathetic figure are the same as progressives who accept Gabbard despite her her affinity for dictators and drone strikes, former extreme anti-gay positions, and links to a cult. She may get to roll with the crew, but she shouldn’t be trusted. That being said, I am extremely amped to see Hobbs & Shaw, but I really hope it ends with Shaw locked firmly back in prison.
Cory Booker: Sean Boswell (Lucas Black)
The protagonist of Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Sean Boswell initially seemed like he’d be an integral part of the family, but then the various directors, casting agents, and producers running the series determined correctly that he was a mostly bland character who wasn’t really necessary in any way.
Amy Klobuchar: Cipher (Charlize Theron)
Neither of these people have great ideas about the future and they both sound like they really suck to work for! Cipher wants to nuke entire cities, and Klobuchar is against free four-year college. Same thing, basically.
Kirsten Gillibrand: Mia Toretto/ O’Connor (Jordana Brewster)
Mia Toretto, Dom’s sister and Brian’s wife, is fine. She’s a consistent voice of reason in the sometimes hot-headed crew and usually does the right thing. Does she get a lot of screen time or lines? Not really, as far as the entire franchise is concerned, which is a shame, but there you have it. She’s there, played with competency by Jordana Brewster. Is Kirsten Gillibrand going to make a huge impact in the Democratic primary? Probably not, honestly. But I like her just fine, and she’s around.
Andrew Yang: Megan Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel)
Megan Ramsey, a legendary hacker, is definitely the Most Online person affiliated with Toretto’s crew. She and Tej Parker are almost certainly the only people in the Fast Family who know what Reddit is, and would therefore have heard of Andrew Yang.
John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, John Delaney: Vince (Matt Schulze), Jesse (Chad Tyler Lindberg), and Leon (Chad Tyler Lindberg)
Vince, Jesse, and Leon are all original members of Dom’s crew (the Democrats, loosely), who are extremely forgettable and only appear in the first movie. Vince gets a reappearance in Fast Five for some reason but isn’t really an integral part of the plot in any way.
Seth Moulton: Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood)
This is both extremely funny to me, and also accurate, as Little Nobody in the Fast franchise is an extremely generic soldier dude who comes into the crew way late in the game and doesn’t do anything. Sound like anyone we know?
Pete Buttigieg: Also Little Nobody But After He Retires and Gets Into Consulting
Little Nobody definitely left the car heist game and got a much safer job at McKinsey.
Jay Inslee: Driver of the Red Toyota Prius that Cipher Hijacks in Fate of the Furious
A bold statement here perhaps but Jay Inslee is most closely related to the driver of the red Toyota Prius that Cipher hijacks in the autonomous car hacking scene in Fate of the Furious. Jay Inslee loves the environment, much like the driver of the red Toyota Prius.
Eric Swalwell and Julián Castro: Rico (Don Omar) and Tego (Tego Calderón)
Rico and Tego are there, and they’re fine. Funny, even! Everyone likes Rico and Tego. We’ll probably see them in cameos later down the line and lots of people will go, “Who’s that again?” and the answer will either be Rico or Tego. I’m lumping these two dudes together because they are young and very unknown and should probably run for Senate (win a street race) or something first.
Marianne Williamson: Ms. Boswell (Lynda Boyd)
Ms. Boswell is Sean Boswell’s mother who sends him to live with his father in Japan because he was doing too much street racing. He then does a whole lot more street racing in Japan, so her plan didn’t work, but honestly it was pretty reasonable considering Sean’s behavior before then (street racing, with lots of crashes). We don’t really know anything about Ms. Boswell beyond that but she could definitely be the kind of person who reads Marianne Williamson’s books.
Steve Bullock: Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell)
Mr. Nobody seems charming enough but I do not much care about his involvement in the plot; similarly, I do not care about Steve Bullock.
Bill de Blasio: Klaus (Kim Kold)
Klaus is the massive guy that Dominic Toretto fights on the airplane at the end of Fast & Furious 6. He is 6'4" according to Wikipedia which is somehow shorter than Bill de Blasio, who is 6'5". Wow.
Mike Gravel: Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez)
Letty is the true maverick of the Fast family. She disappears, feared dead, for several films, only to come back with a vengeance (literally) in Fast and Furious 6, first as an antagonist to the team, but then as a family member. Gravel is a wild card, but his hot-headed campaign pushing, challenging and crashing into various Democrats is somewhat akin to Letty’s fiery presence in the crew.
Michael Bennet: Agent Penning (Jack Conley)
Agent Penning is an extremely generic cop who serves as the supervisor for Brian O’Connor’s assignment in Fast and Furious. There is very little to say about him and he’s only in the one film.
Wayne Messam: Jimmy (Jin Au-Yeung)
Jimmy is Tej Parker’s mechanic in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Honestly, he seems like a great guy! Almost nobody will know who he is, which is a shame. Would love for Jimmy to get a cameo in future Fast films, personally. Honestly, we’re really phoning it in on this one—Jimmy is a solid dude and so is Wayne Messam, apparently, so that’s where the comparison comes in. We’re at the bottom of a very long list here.
Howard Schultz (Ind): Slap Jack (Michael Ealy)
Slap Jack is a street racer who tries to beat Brian O’Connor in the first race of 2 Fast 2 Furious but unfortunately he messes up his car driving off a drawbridge and then crashes into a Pepsi billboard, which is a metaphor for Howard Schultz crashing into his reputation as the Starbucks guy.
Bill Weld (GOP): Roberto (Roberto Sanchez)
Roberto is the henchman who gets blasted out of a car equipped with an ejector seat in 2 Fast 2 Furious, which is roughly analogous to what will happen to Weld in the Republican primary.
Donald Trump: Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida)
The only problem with placing Donald Trump in the Fast and the Furious series, in my opinion, is that most of the villains in the series aren’t as one-dimensional, cruel, or stupid as he is in real life. Sure, I could say that Trump is Deckard Shaw, the main antagonist of the most recent films in the series, but to be honest, it doesn’t really fit. Of the Fast villains, Trump probably most resembles Hernan Reyes, the villain from Fast Five. Reyes is a business tycoon and crime boss who has most of the local government and police forces in his pocket. Close enough!
There you have it folks. A definitive list of who every single one of the 2020 candidates would be as Fast and Furious characters.
All illustrations by Elena Scotti.