Hail The Independent Commander In Chief

Hollywood Presidents For A Partisan Nation, Part 1

purple principle episode artwork with headshot of podcast guest rod lurie

In a time of extreme polarization, how does Hollywood portray a POTUS with broad audience appeal? 

That question is at the heart of our multi-part series on Hollywood Presidents, starting with special guest Rod Lurie, the first to create an independent President in a major TV series, Commander in Chief (starring Geena Davis as President Mackenzie Allen in 2005). 

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“I definitely made her an independent, then tried to keep the topics we were dealing with something that both sides could relate to,” says Lurie. 

Lurie also discusses conveying a more feminine sensibility on the relatively short-lived Commander in Chief, which debuted at number one but was canceled after 18 episodes. He cites President Allen negotiating with her macho Russian counterpart away from the political limelight in one illustrative example. In another, the character opts for cocaine eradication rather than military conflict. 

But Rod Lurie himself has a plotline worth tracing. A West Point-educated military veteran, he’s long been fascinated by questions of character and leadership. His 1999 film Deterrence features the first Jewish American President negotiating a nuclear conflict with Iraq. Two decades later, his most recent film,The Outpost (2020), portrays leadership under the most intense conditions: the battle of Kamdesh during the Afghanistan War. 

 “I always figured that you shouldn’t go to school to study film,” Lurie confides. “You should go and study what you want to make movies about. I was always fascinated by leadership and character. And there’s no better school for leadership than West Point.”

In this Purple Principle episode, Lurie also weighs in on the many high-level military appointees who didn’t last long in the Trump White House, the sadly performative nature of our current Congress, and the even greater difficulties of creating a mainstream show or movie today with political content. 

Entertaining and insightful, profane yet profound, Lurie provides a memorable half-hour on the cultural dimensions of hyperpartisanship and polarization. How does Hollywood choose its Presidents? Let’s hear from one who’s created a few: Rod Lurie, a product of West Point and a Hollywood original. 

Original Music by Ryan Adair Rooney

Rod Lurie

And so what I attempted to achieve was actually achieved for a little while. I definitely made her an independent and then tried to keep the topics that we were dealing with as something that both sides could relate to.

Robert Pease (host)

That’s the West Point-educated director and screenwriter Rod Lurie. He was among the very first creators in Hollywood to feature a woman president in a TV series, and the first to create an independent President. In both cases, that was Geena Davis in the 2005 series Commander in Chief

[Archival Audio, Commander in Chief]

Rod Lurie

If I had to do it again, I would sell that independence even more. I would sell it even more.

Robert Pease (host)

How does Hollywood choose its presidents? A series with multiple episodes, starting today with Rod Lurie and Commander in Chief.  This is the Purple Principle, a podcast about the perils of polarization. I’m Robert Pease.

Emily Crocetti (host)

What’s the up and downside to building a show around an independent POTUS? I’m Emily Crocetti. 

Robert Pease (host)

In addition to Commander in Chief, Rod’s also the director of many widely praised films on leadership in government and the military, such as Deterrence, The Contender, and most recently, The Outpost, one of the top independently-produced films of 2020. 

[Archival Audio, The Outpost]

Emily Crocetti (host)

He’s also refreshingly outspoken

Rod Lurie

They’re all full of shit.

Emily Crocetti (host)

Frequently surprising.

Rod Lurie

I went to West Point in order to become a filmmaker.

Emily Crocetti (host) 

And not one to hide embarrassing details.

Rod Lurie 

I didn’t know that movies were made, you know – I thought they just sort of showed up in the theater.

Robert Pease (host)

Rod has since figured all that out. We’ll speak with him about Commander in Chief and several other  norm-busting productions as well.  

Emily Crocetti (host) 

First let’s get to know Rod Lurie a bit better. Born in Israel but raised in the U.S. from a young age, he was a Hollywood reporter and critic before becoming a screenwriter, showrunner, and director. But through all this and more, it’s always been about his love for movies. 

Robert Pease (host)

So just starting on a little bit of a personal level, you lived and worked in these very different cultural environments. You know, having been born in Israel, gone to West Point, served in the military. We don’t think of LA as a very militarized culture. So tell us what it was like crossing and recrossing those types of boundaries?

Rod Lurie

Well, you know, I think first of all, it’s a mistake to think that you can apply this cliche, that the military is a conservative organization. It really isn’t, at least not from the standpoint that I’ve always seen it, the military itself. If you think about it, it is complete socialism: you got socialized housing, the kids of the generals go to school, the kids of the privates. You have healthcare taking care of you, a lifelong pension, that is taken care of.  I mean, it’s very much living very much off the tit of the government when you’re in the military and you probably are doing it for life. So also remember that the military is something like 40% black and Hispanic, which are traditionally liberal or at least Democrat bases.

So I don’t think that the crossover was that dramatic. I’ll tell you this, I went to West Point in order to become a filmmaker. I know that sounds a little bit weird, but I did. I went there and in 1980 graduated, in 1984 you know, I just figured I always wanted to be a movie maker. I always figured that you shouldn’t go to school to study film. You should go and study what you want to make movies about. And I was always fascinated by leadership and character. And I wanted to make movies that lived in that sort of world. And there’s no better school for leadership than West Point. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

What is it about films that attracted you to try to create change?

Rod Lurie

I’m just shocked that not every single human being in the world isn’t a massive movie lover. It’s like, you know what I mean? I have been watching movies since I was a little kid. And I said, this is the greatest thing of all time. I can’t believe how much I love, love, love watching movies. But I’ll tell you something, Emily, when I was a kid – and I want to say up until I was 11 or 12 – I didn’t know that movies were made, you know. They just sort of showed up in the theater.

So I didn’t know that there was a camera that filmed this whole thing. And I didn’t know that these guys were actors. I guess it was kind of weird. The guy who played Moses is also a guy that lands on the planet of the apes, but, you know, okay. You know, so I just thought that I didn’t know what a director was. I didn’t know what any of this stuff was. And so, you know, who became my heroes when I was young? Movie critics. I became obsessed with movie critics because these cool dudes and gals got to go to the movies for a living. That’s what they did. And then eventually I found out that movies were made and they became very interesting to me. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

And there is that switch though. And seeing it as a reality to just seeing it as a work of art. 

Rod Lurie

I’ll tell you most people, I think if they were told, okay, you’ve got to quit your job. And you were given a guarantee that you would have a really good money-making career in the movies. You, and probably most people, would take it. They go, hell yeah. I mean, what can be more fun? I mean, I went to the movies all the time. The first movie that really got me into movies was Ben Hur. That’s way before your time. And it’s before my time too. It’s a 1959 film, but I remember it came on TV when I was a kid on CBS. And I couldn’t believe how great it was. And that’s when I was in for the ride, from there on, and I watched for a long time, I watched almost every movie that came out, you know, saw like 250-300 movies a year. I mean, I was obsessed. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

It’s like music and kind of like writing combined.

Rod Lurie

And add photography and film is probably the most complete of the arts because you need to combine photography with costume design, with the singing that was invented by us from the movies and that’s editing and music and acting. It’s everything crystallized into one thing. And you know, so that was my life’s goal. And when I was at West Point, I would always ask myself the same question wherever I walked: where would I put the camera? And I’m going to make a move. I’m really, really hoping to make a movie at West Point; I’m putting together a deal right now to make a movie that is set at West Point. Whether or not that institution allows me onto the campus is another thing entirely. I really hope they do. I think it will be beneficial to all of us. But I hope to realize my dream of where I would put the camera. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

Speaking of West Point, what were some reactions from your West Point military friends to your movies? 

Rod Lurie

I’ll tell you something about graduating from either West Point or from Annapolis or even the Air Force Academy. And that is, I bet you that the greatest continuation of friendships come out of those schools because you are all going through hell together and you’re all surviving together and there’s nothing better to forge a friendship  than that sort of thing. The last movie that I did, Emily, was a movie called The Outpost. And it’s, by far, my proudest movie. And it’s about the battle of Kamdesh, 53 American soldiers who were at the base of a mountain when the Taliban attacked them by the hundreds.

[Archival Audio, The Outpost]

Rod Lurie

And then the floodgates really opened, because so many of my classmates served in Afghanistan, served in Iraq. And so this movie really was for them more than it was for anybody else and for the veterans and for the people who died in that battle. And so, yeah, it’s been nothing but positive, from my classmates. 

Robert Pease (host)

Well, Rod, you said that you’ve been a liberal your entire life, but you’ve made I think three references to Charlton Heston already in this interview.

Rod Lurie

Oh yeah. I know, it was a real disappointment to find out who that dude really was. ‘Cause when I was a kid, because of Ben Hur and Planet of the Apes and Ten Commandments, and Omega Man and Soylent Green, he was really my hero. I loved him. But when I was a film critic, I interviewed him. And that’s when I realized that this guy is a hardcore Republican, really religious and a major NRA guy. And I go, Whoa, you know, never meet your heroes, is what you’re told. And that was definitely an example of that. Although it’s not always held for me. So my heroes have proven to be exactly who I thought they were.

Emily Crocetti (host)

That’s our special guest today, screenwriter and director, Rod Lurie. He  knows a little something about real life heroes, having attended West Point and served in the U.S. Military before, or more accurately, as part of his filmmaking career. 

Robert Pease (host)

Again, Rod was the first creator to build a TV show around an independent President, Geena Davis as Mackenzie Allen in the 2005 show Commander in Chief.

[Archival audio, Commander in Chief]

Emily Crocetti (host)

This was several years after his film debut, Deterrence, which featured the first Jewish American President navigating a Mid-East nuclear conflict.

Robert Pease (host)

And shortly after the feature film The Contender, about efforts to block the nomination of the first female Vice President, played by Academy Award nominee Joan Allen. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

But Hollywood is such a liberal place. And network TV’s  a different calculus, based on holding a loyal audience for months and years. So why not create another Democratic President as done with the popular shows West Wing and initially with 24

Robert Pease (host)

We asked Rod Lurie if it was the growing partisanship in the US that has made it difficult to present a Democratic or Republican President without alienating a large portion of the American audience.

Rod Lurie

It has made it extraordinarily difficult. And you can just look at popular culture and you can see how the polarization has affected ratings. So that’s really what you’re talking about. You’re talking about, what kind of audience can we reach? I say part of it, certainly not all of it, but part of it, is due to the fact that there are a lot of the hardcore Trump types who say, I’m just not going to watch these liberal assholes lecture me on how to live or tell me who I should be. And so they tune out. And even in a NFL games or in an NBA game, there are definitely hardcore conservatives. I’m not even sure I want to call them that. I’m not even sure if Trump is a conservative per se. But certainly there is a polarized group that will refuse to watch certain bits of entertainment. And so, yeah,  it should affect you if you want to reach a wide audience. Now, there are plenty of screenwriters and filmmakers who are very happy to speak to the converted, you know, that they’re not particularly interested. Michael Moore doesn’t care what the Republicans have to say about his movies. And so it’s not affected him, but if you were at CBS or NBC or ABC or places that by definition require a wide swath  of the country to be watching, you can be sure that they’re going to be very, very, very careful.

Robert Pease (host)

Let’s move on to Commander in Chief for a little bit. It obviously intrigued us in having a president be independent. We read a comment of yours at the time that the project was not nonpartisan, it was anti-partisan. So tell us a little bit more about what you meant at that time. And are you still anti-partisan today?

Rod Lurie

I’m not anti-partisan at all. And, you know, given what partisanship means today, back then, even back then, it was okay to be anti-partisan, meaning a rejection of the notion that it’s my way or the highway, it’s my country love or leave it, you know, that the other side couldn’t possibly have a point, and we’re going to rail against it just because it’s the other side. When one side is fueled by the Proud Boys and by Qanon and by white supremacy, and I do feel that they are the other side. And by that I don’t mean all Republicans of course, but I do mean the vast majority of them, which are Trumpers right now. I don’t believe that they deserve anti-partisanship. 

But also, to be perfectly honest with you guys, when we were doing Commander in Chief,  we went into survival mode on how the show would be. What you don’t want is for half the country to tune out because they don’t want to be lectured to.

And so I very specifically made Mackenzie Allen, who was the President in the show, an independent. It didn’t really work out the way I wanted it to work out though, because, you know, from the pilot on, people made assumptions about me and made assumptions about our cast that we were hyper liberal, which is probably true. And so they read into everything that we did. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

It seems ironic that the media’s pushback towards your show is kind of exactly what Commander in Chief  is trying to show.

Rod Lurie

Well, yes, exactly. Look, here’s the thing, I made a casting choice that was at the same time brilliant and a bad idea at the same time, I would say. And that was that I cast Donald Sutherland, as the antagonist.

[Archival Audio, Commander in Chief]

Rod Lurie

Right? And the thing is… 

Emily Crocetti (host)

He plays a good antagonist. 

Rod Lurie

Well, okay. But that’s the point though, right? That’s the point. He is so good at it, that the fact that he’s a Republican meant that he must be the bad guy and therefore Republicans are the bad guys. And, you know, now he was fucking brilliant in the show and he got nominated for the Golden Globes. I think he got nominated for the Emmy. He played Nathan Templeton. He was fantastic. He was delicious. But he was a little bit like, you know, Scar in Lion King, you know, it’s just this guy that you really love to hate so much. But in casting him and not casting somebody who is a little bit more neutral, I basically was saying all Republicans are bad guys. But you know, in the show, if you’ll recall – and by the way, it was a number one new show, it was a huge hit for several weeks until I got fired and then it went downhill. 

Robert Pease (host)

We saw a couple of strong references about being an independent leader in episode two, when Mac is choosing her vice president, when she sits down with the congressional party leaders and she says to them, well, I don’t have to worry about party politics. 

[Archival Audio, Commander in Chief]

Robert Pease (host)

But in later episodes that concept didn’t seem as strong. So were you essentially the main advocate for maintaining that independent theme in those early episodes? 

Rod Lurie

Yes, I absolutely was, but I didn’t have to twist any arms. That simply made sense from a commercial point of view. I never intended it to be anything other than an independent. It  wasn’t so much that she was a woman that was difficult to explain how she became president, it’s the fact that she was independent that was difficult to explain. Although I will say that as focused as we were on the thinking of an independent, we were also focused on what would change if a woman was president. Would it be exactly the same? Are there female sensibilities that we can take into account that would make them a better president than maybe a male president? 

You know, there’s a joke that is said in the pilot episode, which is that if Moses were a woman, the Jews would not be wandering for 40 years with somebody who wouldn’t stop to ask for directions. Right? And if you look at the episode where she’s in a conflict with the Russian prime minister, she makes the sit to speak to him completely by themselves. So that understanding that nobody asks to show off in front of other people, how powerful they are. And it became a very important element of the show.

Robert Pease (host)

Well, I was thinking more of her independent status and also the later shows Designated Survivor and Madame Secretary. So did you take that as a compliment that they also chose an independent?

Rod Lurie

Of course, but, you know, look, the truth is that although the show got canceled eventually, it began really, really strong and we were doing something right. And I think that as those shows analyzed what happened to Commander in Chief, they took what they took to be the hallmarks of its success, which is the fact that it was female-centric and the fact that we were diverse, and the fact that we were dealing with an independent. And something else that’s really important to understand as an independent doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re middle of the road on everything. That’s not what it means. In my mind, you can be an independent in the sense that you don’t believe in tariffs at all, you know. You go full on GOP there. But at the same time, you’re very much pro-choice. So you can be very convicted on certain issues. But they just don’t necessarily fall in line with your party completely. And like I said, we were dealing with issues like that, and I think it was the third episode where we’re going to bomb a country that is a major manufacturer of cocaine. 

What does it mean when you say that you’re going to have a response to a military action or to a murder that is proportional? What does that mean? Is proportionality, in and of itself, virtuous? West Wing dealt with this also, you know, and can you tell me, Emily or Robert, would a Democrat or Republican be more or less proportional in how they respond? And I think we don’t know. And, and so that is the approach that we took and maybe it should have taken even more zealously.

[Archival Audio, Commander in Chief]

Robert Pease (host)

It was great having an indie in the White House while it lasted. But President Allen’s tenure was only 18 episodes long, ending in cancellation, though not impeachment. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

But Rod Lurie’s solution to divided American viewership was taken up a decade later by two more network shows, Madame Secretary in 2014 for 5 seasons. And then Designated Survivor for 3 seasons in 2016 created by our special guest next episode, David Guggenheim. And it stars Kiefer Sutherland as the low level cabinet member who becomes President after a massive attack on the nation’s capital. 

[Archival Audio, Designated Survivor]

Emily Crocetti (host)

All of these creators initially made serious attempts to look at  issues from different perspectives while maintaining audience share. But that’s such a heavy lift in our tribalized politics and society. 

Robert Pease (host)

And if anything, the forces of polarization are way stronger since Rod Lurie aired Commander in Chief in 2005. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

So we asked him if it’s possible to make a political show or film these days without being torn apart by at least one of our polar tribes.

Rod Lurie

I don’t think so. Like I said, I think right now we definitely have entrenched ourselves. It is not possible. And so I think that if you’re going to make a movie that deals with politics, going down the middle of the road is going to appeal to absolutely nobody. So you may as well make a film that’s not that expensive, and appeal to a good swath of it. But there was something  else’s happened with political films, which is that the political farce is out. You can’t do it anymore. Now with Trump having been in office, what are you going to do that is more extreme than this clown?

You couldn’t make a character more goofy and caricature-ish than him. That show Veep is now a docu-drama, you know, it’s insane. I was going to do a movie a few years ago called State of the Union. It was in fact about an independent who runs for the presidency. He’s a billionaire who runs for the presidency. And we had to scrap it. You know, we had to scrap it after the McCain-Obama crazy election, because we thought that was out of its mind with Sarah Palin and McCain being told in an audience that Obama is a Muslim, and maybe it wasn’t born in this country. We thought that was crazy. But now it’s gone so bananas that you can’t make a farce. So the only movie that you can really do right now, in my opinion, about political races are aspirational movies.

Robert Pease (host)

Well, let me ask you one, one quick question about Deterrence, which I believe you made around 1999.

Rod Lurie

And the first Jewish president.

Robert Pease (host) 

At the very beginning, when he’s part of some primary results on TV, when the Connecticut results come up, it looks like Trump has won Connecticut. 

Rod Lurie

Yeah, that’s right. 

Robert Pease (host)

Was that because you are concerned about Trump running for office way back then?

Rod Lurie

I was concerned about that. I was concerned about everything that’s in the film, including our re-engagement in Iraq, which came true and which I thought was inevitable. But I thought for sure that Trump would enter our political system. And unfortunately he did. So you know, I also predicted he would be a Republican because that’s what this guy is running on. And even though he claimed to be a Democrat back then, I just felt that Trump was going to be an opportunist, then would go with whatever, not what he really believed in necessarily, but whatever would be most expedient to him. You know, Donald Trump looked at the landscape and said, I know what I can do. I can absolutely dig into this nativism, this populism, this anxiety among white Christians. I can exploit that. There’s nothing on the Democrat side he could exploit, and he did. And this is where we ended up, obviously.

Emily Crocetti (host)

Just really quick, The Outpost, which was your most recent project and won a bunch of awards, including the top 10 independent films named by the National Board of Review, among other things. And just one scene that hit me was in the first 10 minutes, when the Taliban first attacks them, and then they start immediately like fighting in between each other after. And then one of the characters says, we can’t argue and fight at the same time. Can I get your thoughts on that?

[Archival Audio, Outpost]

Emily Crocetti (host)

I thought that that was a really encapsulating type of quote.

Rod Lurie

Well,to be perfectly honest with you, that was improvised by the guy who says it in the movie. And the guy who says in the movie is a guy named Hank Hughes. And Hank was actually a lieutenant at that very outpost. And you would have infighting within the units like you would have in any sort of any sort of family. But this isn’t political arguing. And it’s arguing about the best way to fight the enemy. And the concept there is that the person that’s in charge of the highest ranking person will make the decisions and the people below them will have to follow those decisions. And it does nobody any good to argue or to fight back. And leadership, like I told you before, leadership has always been a very important topic to me to try to explore. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

And I guess going off that, you just said there’s a difference between fighting as a family towards a common goal, and then getting political, is it having a common enemy that gets people to cooperate and agree with each other?

Rod Lurie

Usually, If we have a common enemy, it unites us, you know, like the country was very united after 9/11, but COVID-19 did not unite us. The other thing that didn’t unite us is, Russia interfering in our election. Trump’s somehow, this dude somehow managed to use being attacked by Russia in some sort of way as a way to further divide the country. So it’s very, very odd. But when the bullets start flying, we better be all shooting back in that direction where the bullets are coming from and not at one another. And that’s one of the lessons of The Outpost that may relate to life right now. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

It speaks to the power of good versus bad leadership.

Rod Lurie

Right. And you know, and in The Outpost – which everyone can see on Netflix right now, I’m really proud of it – you see various leaders coming in and out of that unit. And you see what different leadership styles do and how one leader can unite a unit and another leader can tear a unit apart. And that was one of the great lessons at West Point. It’s a school of leadership and you learn hopefully how to unite. It served me very well as a director. In fact, you know, because you’re sort of a unit commander of the crew.

Robert Pease (host)

So one other question. Donald Trump, as you know, filled his cabinet with a lot of military leaders, perhaps counting on their loyalty. But they all eventually had enough, and turned on him. But you must have watched that.

Rod Lurie

I could have told you that, Robert, and not only could I have told you that, I did tell other people. I said, none of these guys are going to stick by him. They have too much character. And in fact, one of them is my classmate, HR McMaster. And there was no way that HR was going to stick it out with this asshole. Trump is a guy who stood by Putin on that podium and attacked our own intelligence agencies. Trump is the guy who turned on the Kurds. Trump is a guy who dodged the draft. Trump’s a guy who called the military people suckers and losers. There’s no way that these guys are sticking by him. 

Robert Pease (host)

We’re hearing this very awkward word about our politicians these days: performative. Our politicians are performative. They’re playing to their base, obviously, even in Congress, on the floor, ignoring everyone around them and playing to their base. So as a director, you must have an opinion, which of these people are really convincing?

Rod Lurie

None of them are convincing. Come on, Robert, are you kidding me? They’re all full of it, but people fall for it. It’s really amazing. The only time that they’re convincing is when they go against their party, when Lindsey Graham got up and said, I’m done with this. It’s over, you know, he lost, it’s over. That was convincing, because it’s true. And then he caught a little bit of shit for it. And then he’s back to, Trump is the greatest thing ever.

And so when the stage is there, you know, that was the right word, it’s extremely performative. And sometimes the performance is just made for one audience member. And that’s Donald Trump, I think. 

Robert Pease (host)

Well, we do ask everyone on the Purple Principle to show a little bit of purple and talk about someone in the other party that you have respect for.

Rod Lurie

Well, I’ll tell you, I liked this guy, Adam Kinzinger. I believe that’s how you pronounce his name. But I’m not sure, to be honest with you. That’s also not a little bit performative and I’ll explain, then I’ll get to my hero on the other side in a second. I think that there are certain Republicans who are banking on the fact that in 2024, the anti-Trump people will be the ones that will be the most respected in the same way that in 2008, if you were a Democrat who voted against the Iraq war, that was going to be a major boon for you. And so Obama benefited from that, whereas almost nobody else did. But to me, and most Democrats who have been on your show, I’m sure they’re saying Mitt Romney, And I think if he’s knocked out of office, he’ll say, well, what the fuck? You know, I’ve had a good run. But he came out against Trump during the election in 2016. I mean, he really went after him and he voted to impeach him. And I respect him, I respect Murkowski for the same reason, you know, the people that are decent human beings. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Romney was our president. I didn’t know. I wouldn’t like his Supreme Court choices. And I wouldn’t like some of his policies, but he’s a leader. He’s a good man. So that’s my vote.

Robert Pease (host)

That was our special guest today Rod Lurie. And Emily, I have to say, that was maybe my personal favorite show of purple from any guest in either season so far,  because Rod, by his own admission, is a passionate lifelong liberal. But his respect for Romney and Murkowski really seemed heartfelt. 

Emily Crocetti (host)

And it comes from someone who’s studied leadership and the American Presidency in his own way for many decades. West Point grad. Military Veteran. And the creative force behind not one, but three different shows or films featuring an American Presidency: Deterrence, The Contender, and Commander in Chief.  

Robert Pease (host)

We hope you’ll binge watch these shows as well as Rod Lurie’s latest film, The Outpost. Next up on the Purple Principle, we’ll continue our exploration of how Hollywood chooses its Presidents with David Guggenheim, creator of the 2016 series, Designated Survivor. His fictional premise of  an attack on Washington, D.C. became all too real on January 6th, 2021 during the capitol insurrection. 

David Guggenheim

I do know when the insurrection happened at the Capitol that so many people were emailing me going, Oh my God, this is like straight out of the show!

Robert Pease (host)  

We hope you’ll join us for that episode, recommend the podcast to a friend, and review us on Apple Podcasts, which we love to read on air. Please also check out our newsletter, The Purple Principle in Print. Each issue takes a deep dive into the major elements pulling Americans apart and profiles important groups and individuals trying to reverse that trend. 

This has been Robert Pease and Emily Crocetti for the Purple Principle team: Alison Byrne, Producer; Kevin A. Kline Sr. Audio Engineer; Emily Holloway Digital Strategy & Outreach; Dom Scarlett, Research Associate. Original music composed and created by Ryan Adair Rooney. The Purple Principle is a Fluent Knowledge production.