When many American citizens cast their vote this November, they'll be choosing between the lesser of two evils. But why choose the lesser evil when you can choose a supervillain as your president? After all, supervillains can be effective leaders, provided you can get past the lying, unilateral decision-making, rampant murder, and dismantling of your Constitutional rights. Spoilers for various political plot lines below.
They have a strong vision for the future. Perhaps the most famous supervillain president is none other than Superman's nemesis, Lex Luthor, who was elected with 84% of the popular vote after he apparently saved both Metropolis and Gotham City. Luthor's Tomorrow Party platform was a decidedly optimistic one; it's hard not to get behind the promise of a flying car in every garage. (Of course, it doesn't hurt that Luthor probably possesses the technology to make that a reality.) And his first act as president is to ask Congress to pass a moratorium on fossil fuels. He also manages to pull together the world's superheroes, other nations, and a few interstellar allies to beat back Imperiex. There's the small detail that he Pearl Harbors Topeka, Kansas, in the process, but that arguably makes him no worse than Franklin Roosevelt during World War II. (But only if you subscribe to certain wild conspiracy theories.) More distressing were his illegal dealings with Darkseid during the war, and his continued obsession with controlling and destroying Superman. It's the alternative universe of Superman: Red Son shows Luthor's greatest potential as a political leader, however. When he's not dealing with the communist menace that is Superman, he has the time and energy to usher humanity into a golden age.
In Impulse #35, Julian Tremain manages to retcon himself into the presidency and comes up with a remarkably unselfish (if impractical) plan for American domination: give people whatever they want. He's even pro-science (or at least pro-mad science), appointing the evil genius Professor Zoom as his science advisor. It all goes remarkably well until Gorilla Grodd starts messing with the timeline.
They'll go to great lengths to rebuild the country. Victor Von Doom was already the political leader of his own country, Latveria, but in the Marvel 2099 universe, Doom manages to become president of the United States. It turns out that the supervillain may be just what the dystopian future America needs. Granted, he takes the presidency by force, hacking and slashing his way through the White House until he can claim the Oval Office as his own. But he does restore the constitutional powers of the presidency, nationalize the megacorps (a small-government advocate's nightmare, but in this case, highly necessary), and uses their money to rebuild the crumbling United States. He even gets in a heroic sacrifice, using his own death as a means of taking out the assimilation-happy Phalanx.
They won't stand for idiotic interview questions. While not actually a villain, the antiheroic Etrigan the Demon would have likely been a less than lawful good choice for president. (Superman called him, "One of the worst candidates for public office I've ever seen.") But his campaign for the Republican nomination certainly was entertaining; when ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson tried to call Etrigan out on his sloppy rhyming, the demon responded with a stream of fiery breath. He was also the only candidate with the guts to beat up members of the Ku Klux Klan, although in fairness, they attacked him first. Genuine villains might be convinced to follow Etrigan's lead, at least on the interview front.
They make our monuments far more interesting. The first thing many supervillains do when they lay claim to the Oval Office is to carve their face into Mount Rushmore. In fact, you'd think that Mount Rushmore was the only reason to steal the presidency. Sometimes the effect is mundane (Richard Nixon as the fourth face in the Watchmen movie universe), but sometimes you get a mad artist like Futurama's first supervillain president, who was obviously a fashion icon in those goggles.
They'll keep up morale (in order to further their evil schemes). You know how Sylar (masquerading as Nathan Petrelli) managed to get himself elected president in the Heroes alternate future? He stood as an emotional beacon to a grieving nation in the wake of the nuclear explosion in Manhattan. All that warmth and strength was just a ploy to get enough power to wipe out the rest of superpowered humanity—and he planned to do it again with his phony, fatal "cure." Richard Nixon's head found a less emotionally taxing route to voter distraction in Futurama; he gave every Earth citizen a $300 tax refund. While everyone else was running around drinking coffee and swimming with whales, a deleted scene revealed the truth: each bill registered a vote for Nixon, allowing him to steal the next election with little fuss.
They'll eliminate unemployment—albeit through slavery. When alien invaders like Day of the Tentacle's Purple Tentacle and The Simpsons' Kang become President of the US, they tend to reduce humanity to pets or slave labor. Don't like it? You should have voted for Kodos.
They're already part of the shadowy conspiracy that runs the planet. Do you want an ineffectual puppet president who is helpless against the nation's true rulers? Or do you want a president who is actually pulling the strings? In 1973, Captain America discovered that Richard Nixon was the head of the Secret Empire, a powerful criminal organization which had infiltrated and manipulated corporations, criminal enterprises, and the highest offices of government. That particular revelation drove Tricky Dick to suicide, but the Secret Empire would continue to operate, even without a member in office.
They're surprisingly easy to depose: If you're a rotten president, there are a lot of meetings and a lot of paperwork that have to happen before anyone can oust you from office. But if you're an outright evil, criminal president, things become much easier. Gary Callahan, the insecure, murderous Smiler of Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan is so insufferable that even the Secret Service abandons him in the end, and he's arrested within moments of delivering his evil monologue to Spider Jerusalem. Robert L. Booth, the last U.S. President of the Judge Dredd Universe and author of the country's nuclear semi-annihilation, raised a mutant army to attempt to take back America. But as a warlord, he was a bit of cheapskate, and when Dredd decided to use Booth as a human shield, Booth's soldiers simply shot him. After all, you can always elect a new evil president. Granted, Red Skull proves harder to eliminate in Old Man Logan, but his tendency to make powerful enemies, and his desire to view the corpses of his enemies (in a room filled with superhero weapons, no less) ultimately prove his undoing. Even President Rexall, the powerful dictator of the Martha Washington comics is temporarily incapacitated early in the series, with most of his successors simultaneously killed off. Sadly, the liberal Minister of Agriculture, who takes his place, is pretty useless.
It also appears that our government has provisions for dealing with certain types of evil elected official. When, in Robert Sheckley's Alternate Presidents story "Dukakis and the Aliens," Michael Dukakis is elected president and turns out to be a member of an evil alien race, the Men In Black step in, rewriting history so that Dukakis loses the election. Of course, there are some who might have preferred the aliens to George H.W. Bush.
Chances are you won't notice a difference between them and your non-supervillain presidents. After all, the alien Cryptosporidium 137 managed to play president in the Destroy All Humans! franchise without anyone being the wiser, and we'll have to see how long it takes Americans to notice that the Cobra minion Zartan has replaced the Commander in Chief in the G.I. Joe films. Even Captain America was shocked to discover that Nixon was a supervillain, and he's a trained to spot this sort of thing. How many other supervillains could have held political office, unbeknownst to the American people?