The Politician Season 2 Ending, Explained

Ryan Murphy’s ‘The Politician‘ is back on Netflix and this time Payton takes on a much bigger opponent than what he faced back in Santa Barbara during the school elections. The young and ambitious boy goes up against Dede Standish, the incumbent New York state senator, who has enjoyed an unchallenged run for some time. It is the big leagues and Payton comes out swinging. As usual, he is great at making speeches and admits that politicians campaign in poetry but deliver in prose.

After a tight contest, where everyone involved not only learns to introspect but treat the other with respect, Payton is faced with an even bigger opportunity at the end of the season. Before we explain what the ending means for the series, here’s what happens in ‘The Politician’ Season 2.

The Politician Season 2 Plot:

The new season of ‘The Politician’ sees Payton and Dede locking horns. It soon becomes a battle between the old and new order, with Payton vociferously championing environmental concerns, while Dede relies on the results she’s been getting as the New York state senator for so long. While the candidates have great arguments in public, there is an undercurrent of dirty politics that is played. Dede’s sexual life makes it to the news when Payton’s aide leaks information about her being in a threeway relationship.

On the other hand, Payton gets dragged through the mud for dressing up as Geronimo, which is considered to be cultural appropriation. However, Payton exercises restraint and decides that instead of fighting dirty, he should stick to the electoral points he’s brought up. Similarly, Dede grows to respect Payton, and their contest ends in a tie. Just as it is about to be decided in a game of rock, paper, scissors, Dede concedes and Payton wins his biggest election yet. The season finale shows the work Payton has done, his new life with Alice and their baby, and the ultimately life-changing offer he receives from Dede.

The State Elections and Rock, Paper, Scissors:

However, before we get to the ending, you might be wondering how a state election can be determined by a game of rock, paper, scissors. Well, as the show explains, according to the state laws, if there is a tie after manual and electronic counting, then the candidates have two options. They can either opt for reelection or they can settle the tie via a coin toss.

Technically, a coin toss is not the only way to settle the tie. According to The Atlantic, the idea of a tiebreaker is one of the weirder aspects of the American democratic system. In several states, if an election is tied, cards, straws, and more often a coin toss, is used to determine the winner. In the show, we see it comes down to a game of rock, paper, scissors, because game theory still has more of a human element in it, than something of pure chance like a coin toss. However, a 2001 case study by Casey B. Mulligan and Charles G. Hunter determined that ties are extremely rare in any major elections in the US. Therefore, what we see in the series is technically part of the law, but it is a very unique occurrence.

The Politician Season 2 Ending, Explained:

The second season nears its end ever since the election’s results are supposed to be decided by the game. However, the true ending comes after Dede concedes her spot and Payton delivers a moving speech assuring his supporters to deliver on his promises. Since Season 2 has been a lot about Payton’s self-discovery and deciding not just what kind of politician he wants to be, but also what kind of man he is, we see Payton’s results towards the final moments.

There is a quick sequence where his accomplishments are declared in a team meeting. However, when Payton turns around, we see his biggest accomplishment is becoming a father. The boy whose ambition frightened his own mother seems to have come a long way and states that he does not want to move on to the next big thing. Instead, he wants to focus on working for the things he believes in. However, Payton’s promises go for a toss when he is approached by Dede, while he’s jogging.

Initially, Dede runs as the VP to Payton’s mother, who we understand is on the verge of winning the Presidential elections. However, she makes it clear she just wants to bring changes within one term and then Dede can run for the highest seat of power. Dede wants Payton to be her Vice Presidential candidate. Therefore, the end of the season sets us up for Payton’s biggest race yet. He has finally tasted victory in a tough election, but now he will be swimming in unfamiliar waters in the powerful halls of Washington DC.

One thing is for certain. A very different Payton will be contesting the new elections. He’s a changed man who believes in the cause more than doing anything to win. However, it will be interesting to see how McAfee and Payton’s closest aides react when they reach Washington. After all, it was always McAfee’s dream to duke it out at the highest levels. Furthermore, Payton promised Alice that he’d put his dreams on hold for hers if needed, but it remains to be seen if he can actually do it, now that he’s so close to becoming what he always wanted as a child – the President of the United States. The season ends on a note of anticipation, promising greater things to come once ‘The Politician’ returns on Netflix.

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