So Goes the Nation

Watch So Goes the Nation

"A true story of how elections are won...and lost."
  • NR
  • 2006
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 6.7  (404)
  • 65

So Goes the Nation is a 2006 documentary film that looks into the process of the presidential election of 2004, specifically focusing on the state of Ohio. The film follows a handful of people from both sides of the political spectrum, including strategists, activists and voters, as they work to influence the outcome of the election.

The film provides a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at the mechanics of electoral politics in contemporary America. It features interviews with key figures on both sides of the election, including George W. Bush and John Kerry, as well as Democratic strategist James Carville, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie and a host of Ohio residents engaged in the political process.

The movie begins by highlighting Ohio's previous significance in the presidential election, as it had voted for the winner of every election since 1964. This sets the stage for the narrative of the film, which shows how both parties strategized to win the Ohio vote. The GOP camp focused on polarizing issues such as gay marriage and the 9/11 attacks, while the Dems targeted working-class voters through advertisements on issues such as trade, healthcare, and jobs.

The filmmakers follow volunteers and campaigners in Cuyahoga County, the biggest Democratic-leaning area in the state, as they cross paths with those involved with the Ohio Republican Party. Their grassroots movements attempt to convince likely voters to choose their respective candidates through phone banking, door-knocking and voter outreach programs.

So Goes The Nation also touches on the issue of voting machines, which Ohio had become reliant upon, and which contributed to the controversies surrounding the election results in the state. The film sheds light on the concerns of the Democrats, who suspect that the voting machines favored Republican votes.

At the core of the film is the idea that to win an election, a political party needs to understand and cater to a diverse group of voters. This is evident in the way the film portrays activists within each party as they attempt to engage with undecided and swing voters. The film helps audiences recognize the importance of nuanced political decisions while highlighting the importance of civic engagement.

The film’s biggest strength is its humanising of the election process, a quality that makes it more relatable for people on both sides of the spectrum. The film is a powerful reminder of how the competition for the presidency of the United States revolves around human interaction and emotional connection rather than just policy positions. The viewer is left with a more informed perspective of what drives the political machinery in America.

While it is commendable that the film does not overtly advocate for one political party over the other, it could be seen as lacking analysis in some areas. It does not delve much deeper into the issues, policies and philosophies that underpin the campaign strategies for each party, but this is perhaps understandable in a film that seeks to observe rather than dissect.

Throughout the film, the directors present a detailed account of the events that occurred in the state of Ohio in the 2004 election, likely the most historical of that century. The cinema verité style that the filmmakers adopt also presents the audience with the sheer scale of grass roots politics, making it an enriching watch for those interested in the workings of electoral politics.

In conclusion, So Goes the Nation is a fascinating film that effectively takes a complex, multi-faceted topic and makes it accessible to audiences. It is engaging and thought-provoking and masterfully captures the intricacies of the American political process. The film is worth watching by anyone interested in the mechanics behind the US Presidential election or those looking for a closer look at the democratic process in action.

So Goes the Nation is a 2006 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 65.

So Goes the Nation
Where to Watch So Goes the Nation
So Goes the Nation is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent So Goes the Nation for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (404)
  • Metascore