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8 Moments from ‘The West Wing’ You Need to See Ahead of the 2020 Election

Before the worlds of Scandal and House of Cards became household familiarities, Aaron Sorkin’s political drama, The West Wing, followed the lives of the President of the United States, his staff, and the inner workings of the Bartlet White House for seven seasons. The morning of August 25, star Bradley Whitford (Joshua Lyman) revealed to TODAY that the cast is reuniting for a special presentation of the episode “Hartsfield Landing” on HBO Max this fall. According to TODAY, the reunion episode will raise money benefiting Michelle Obama’s organization When We All Vote, which aims to increase participation in the 2020 Election.  

Though all 156 episodes of the show are golden content, here are some moments you need to stream in preparation of this election cycle:  

When you’re ready to rock the vote
West Wing GIF
NBC / bethirv18 via GIPHY

Season 4 Episode 3 – “College Kids”

Ready to vote? So is White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney). Catch her pumping up the crowd with the Barenaked Ladies in this very 2000’s moment.

When you’re researching the electoral college

Season 2, Episode 3 – “The Midterms”

Learn about mid-term elections and presidential polling, and enjoy a drink on the stoop in this classic Season 2 episode.

When you’re watching the campaign trail
West Wing GIF
NBC / bethirv18 via GIPHY

Season 4, Episode 1 – “20 Hours in America (Part 1)”

When half of the main cast gets left behind on the Bartlet campaign trail, plenty of insanity, dramatic pauses and time changes ensue.

When it’s debate night
West Wing GIF
NBC / bethirv18 from GIPHY

Season 4, Episode 6 – “Game On”

Prep for your debate watching party by watching President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his opponent Rob Ritchie (James Brolin) go head to head in fiery debate.

When you need an escape from politics
West Wing GIF
NBC / bethirv18 from GIPHY

Season 1, Episode 10 – “In Excelsis Deo”

Sick of the news cycle? Jump into the “will they, won’t they” relationship of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman (Bradley Whitford) and his assistant Donatella Moss (Janel Moloney). Be sure to grab the tissues!

When Thanksgiving rolls around
West Wing GIF
NBC / bethirv18 from GIPHY

Season 2, Episode 8 – “Shibboleth”

Avoid touchy subjects at the Thanksgiving dinner table by watching C.J. struggle (and fail) to choose between two turkeys for the presidential pardon ceremony.

When you’re looking for encouragement
West Wing GIF
NBC / bethirv18 from GIPHY

Season 4, Episode 15 – “Inauguration: Over There (Part II)”

On the eve of his second Inauguration, President Bartlet delivers some of his infamous wisdom in the form of Margaret Mead quote that never fails to inspire.

When it’s Election Day
West Wing GIF
NBC / bethirv18 from GIPHY

Season 7, Episode 22 – “Tomorrow”

In the series finale, the Bartlet Administration says goodbye to the White House in this episode all about transition and hope for the future.

The West Wing is currently streaming on Netlfix.

Bethany Irvine

Georgetown '21

Bethany is a second year graduate student based in Washington D.C. When she's not enjoying the sights and sounds of downtown D.C. she's busy studying the intersection between politics and communication.
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