Star Wars ‘Rogue One’: How Palpatine made the Galaxy great again

Are you a #NeverPalpatine Star Wars fan who hates the Dark Side? Viewed through the political wisdom of Election 2016, the Star Wars saga reveals that Emperor Palpatine was actually a great leader who prevented galactic war.

Rogue One is the latest installment to the thrilling Star Wars space opera saga. (Promotional photo by Disney/Lucasfilm)

HONOLULU, December 16, 2016 – Have you seen the exciting new Star Wars interquel, Rogue One? As a political scientist, I’ve always appreciated the Star Wars series for its tongue-in-cheek commentary on the mutation of a republican system of governance into a Galactic Empire.

Image of Emperor Palpatine, derived from promotional film clip from “Return of the Jedi.” (Image via Wikipedia entry on Emperor Palpatine, copyright Lucasfilm. Used here for illustrative and satirical purposes only)

I’m not the first wonk to notice the academic value of Star Wars to comparative politics, either. In 2002, just as the Star Wars prequel, Attack of the Clones, hit theaters, Weekly Standard author Jonathan Last wrote an incredible essay titled “The Case for the Empire,” in which he explored the merits of Palpatine’s Galactic Empire and why the Empire was, in fact, a force for good.

Much time has passed since we last explored the benefits of the Galactic Empire. As I considered both Rogue One and the recent changes in our own political real world, however, I realized there are even more reasons history should look favorably on Palpatine and his great Galactic Empire.

1. Prior to the Galactic Empire, the Old Republic was being exploited by bad trade deals that exclusively benefited Asian-esque aliens and took jobs away from hardworking people and gave it to robots.

Chancellor Finis Valorum, the immediate predecessor of Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine, was clearly an incompetent leader of the Old Republic. We know this because at the beginning of the Star Wars storyline, the Trade Federation, an interstellar merchant cartel, was more economically powerful than the Republic’s government, which suffered from indecision directly resulting in a collapsing infrastructure, rampant crime, and constant bickering between non-human and human races.

The leaders of the Federation were almost exclusively Neomodians: shrewd, greedy, bug-eyed aliens that speak with obnoxious Asian accents. (Not making this up. Watch the prequels.) The Federation could manipulate currency markets; stave off supply and demand; finance corrupt politicians that gave them preferential trade deals at the expense of ordinary people; and, worst of all, as an automation-heavy organization, they took jobs away from the middle class and gave them to robots.

Valorum, on the other hand, received millions of credits in bribes from big financial institutions like the Bank of Aargu, most likely for his highly informative speaking engagements. His family, with no government qualifications or expertise (aside from simply being related to Valorum, whom we shall call “Corrupt Valorum” from now on), likewise profited, while average Republic citizens were languishing as a result of an economy jammed firmly in the gutter. Queen Amidala went so far as to say that Valorum’s failure of leadership caused children to lack bread and starve.

As rich and powerful as it already was, when the Federation didn’t get its way, they attacked the peaceful planet of Naboo. Where was Corrupt Valorum when his 3 a.m. phone call arrived? He was nowhere to be found.

The rise of Palpatine, therefore, came at just the right time. He “drained the swamp” that was the corrupt Republic establishment, broke the power of the trade cartels and restored security to the Galaxy by transforming it into an empire.

“Palpatine is commonly criticized as being evil and unpopular. This is a lie… Every single one of his rallies were attended by hundreds of thousands of patriotic supporters, most of them military or law enforcement.”

2. The Rebels partner with bloodthirsty insurgents, terrorists, smugglers/pirates, mob bosses, and religious terrorists to achieve their goals. That makes them an anti-civilizing force for evil.

Whatever romantic, rose-colored memories you might have of Rebel personalities like Han Solo, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, Luke Skywalker, and others, the fact remains that all of them are big league thugs and criminals. They are, to borrow a phrase, “bad hombres.” While the Rebels have every right to be upset about the lack of personal freedom under Palpatine, their methods for accomplishing change are violent and corrosive towards galactic civilization.

Even more concerning is the fact that the driving force behind the Rebellion is a group of religious extremist terrorists called the Jedi Order. Palpatine was the first person to actually call the Jedi out for who and what they are: terrorists. Every single assassination, terrorist attack, or major insurgency in the twenty years between the rise of the Galactic Empire and the destruction of the Second Death Star was orchestrated by the Jedi.

Think for a moment about what the Jedi actually do. They take children away from their parents and teach them to become militants; they forbid marriage and demand absolute celibacy of their membership; and their preferred method of killing involves decapitation by light saber. The Jedi have no tolerance for minorities, either. Obi-Wan Kenobi, in particular, killed a black man (Darth Maul) by cutting him in half and throwing him off a building. (You know who else does that? ISIS.)

Worse yet, when the Second Death Star was destroyed in the Battle of Endor, thousands of people were seen celebrating in the streets and on the rooftops of Coruscant, an inconvenient truth the media has attempted to hide throughout numerous special editions and re-releases of the series. But many people who saw the original Return of the Jedi are well-aware of this, regarding it as common knowledge.

“Think for a moment about what the Jedi do. They take children away from their parents and teach them to become militants… You know who else does that? ISIS.”

3. Palpatine was duly elected as Chancellor and had legal and moral authority to declare a Galactic Empire. Whether or not one voted for Palpatine, not supporting his leadership and wanting his policies to fail is unpatriotic and treasonous.

Palpatine is commonly criticized as being evil and unpopular. This is a lie that liberal media and progressive university professors have been peddling for years. How do we know this? Every single one of his rallies, from Attack of the Clones to Return of the Jedi, were attended by hundreds of thousands of patriotic supporters, most of them either military or law enforcement. Even Yoda, before he became a Rebel sellout, attended a Palpatine rally.

By way of contrast, when you observe Rebel rallies, they are always portrayed with a cropped shot on screen. Why is this? To make it look like there are more of them than there really are. The truth is, only a couple of people ever are present at any given time at a Rebel event.

It is also important to realize that once an election is over, it is the responsibility of every citizen to support the leadership and policies of their head-of-state. Burning the Imperial Flag, protesting in the streets, crying as a result of Palpatine coming to power, and worst of all, hoping that Imperial policies fail are all acts of treason. Just ask the Tea Party.

The Empire had every right to oppress the Rebels, because they were violent, treasonous, and dangerous to the fabric of society. Furthermore, no one should sympathize with any of the Rebels shot by stormtroopers or strangled by Darth Vader; anyone who points a weapon at a stormtrooper in uniform, no matter the reason, should be shot. Period. Stormtrooper lives matter!

“Where was Corrupt Valorum when his 3 a.m. phone call came?”

4. There is no proof whatsoever that Palpatine had any contact with or was ever influenced by the Dark Side. But even if he was, it would be a good thing, because it shows he can negotiate with evil to get favorable deals for the Empire and its subjects without resorting to hostility.

There are those who will be quick to point out that the Dark Side had free reign under Emperor Palpatine’s leadership of the Old Republic and Galactic Empire. The truth is, Palpatine knew nothing about the Dark Side or Darth Plagueis. No proof is ever provided that Palpatine is connected to the Dark Side. Such fake news only comes from discredited extremists like Lyin’ Yoda, whose brand recognition shrunk so low he was forced to hide in Dagobah; or from ungrateful former staffers like Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, who claim Palpatine is corrupt.

But let’s assume for a moment that Palpatine did have relations with the Dark Side. Why would that be a bad thing? In trying to fight the Dark Side, the Old Republic, almost caused a galactic war. If Palpatine had fellowship with the Dark Side, it would have meant that there would be no strained relations between him and evil, thus allowing him to negotiate a better deal for the Galactic Empire and its subjects.

“…when the Second Death Star was destroyed… thousands of people were seen celebrating in the streets and on the rooftops of Coruscant.”

5. Palpatine saved taxpayers untold millions by “cutting” the military and civil service.

Most important of all, though Palpatine indeed rose to the position of Emperor on the platform of galactic national security, it’s clear that he actually “slashed” the military and civil service (so to speak) by allowing Darth Vader to purge so many officers and enlisted men. This allowed taxpayers to catch a break, benefiting from smaller government, which, in turn promoted a leaner, more competent military, freeing the money that helped finance the two Death Star superlaser projects to be used elsewhere.

Yes, when you think about it, the Galactic Empire actually did a great service to the Galaxy. So when you watch Rogue One and any future Star Wars films, remember: There is a powerful lesson to be learned here for those voting in future American elections.


(Author’s Note: This is a work of satire. Support for Palpatine and his methods would be utterly Orwellian and the epitome of moral bankruptcy. You should absolutely detest the Dark Side, the Galactic Empire, and all forms of fascism or cult of personality leadership, fictional… or especially in your own government.)

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Danny de Gracia
Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs standing committees as well as a former minority caucus research analyst at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, he has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. He has two doctorates in theology and ministry, a postgraduate in strategic marketing, a master's in political science and a bachelor's in political science and public administration. Writing on comparative politics, modern culture, fashion and more, Danny is also the author of the new novel "American Kiss" available now from