When talking about the ever-shifting political landscape, many people look to historical figures, such as Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr., or contemporary leaders, such as Keisha Lance Bottoms or Aja Brown, for inspiration. However, my political compass points squarely to the realm of retro gaming (and yes, we’re a lively community) and a single pixelated giant who stands above the rest when it comes to effective city leadership — Mike Haggar, the former mayor of Metro City.
Before I dive into five reasons why my vote — now and forever — belongs to Mike Haggar, let me introduce the character to all the non-gamers reading this (but also to all modern gamers who believe that gaming was invented alongside the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed franchises). All jokes aside, Michael Mike Haggar was the deuteragonist and a prominent protagonist of the 1989’s Final Fight video game, where he’s portrayed as a former Street Fighter (capitalized for a reason) and a pro-wrestler turned mayor of Metro City.
Though Mike was introduced in the Final Fight series, he was also featured in 1994’s Slam Master series for Sega Genesis. However, the wrong translation of the English version of that particular game introduced him as a former mayor-turned-wrestler, which obviously isn’t the case. Following a successful wrestling career, Mike Haggar maintained his position of mayor throughout the Final Fight series and the majority of the Street Fighter series, in which he actually doesn’t appear as a playable character.
However, he’s still an important part of the Street Fighter narrative, especially in Cody and Guy’s backstories, and often appears in the prologue and ending scenes, as well as cameos. With that said, he passed the position of Metro City’s mayor to Cody as of Street Fighter 5. But what really makes him qualified? Why would I, and why should you, vote Mike Haggar for mayor? Here are five reasons why.
He Was a Mayor of Metro City
As stated above, Mike Haggar was already the mayor of Metro City. Why does that matter? Well, being a mayor of Metro City isn’t a walk in a park, especially since the town is plagued by violence, corruption, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and murder. The police are either absent or on the crooks’ payroll. Well, Mike Haggar saw the decay of Metro City, and instead of standing by while the innocent suffered, he ran for mayor — and shortly after he won the elections, the crime rate within the city dropped by 23%.
Many believe that the sudden drop in crime rate was due to Haggar’s welfare program and social reform, but there are those who would chalk up the rapidly decreasing crime rate to Haggar’s lead pipe. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most elegant ones.
He Body-Slammed Corruption
Corruption is more than just a buzzword in the dangerous streets of Metro City; it’s a palpable menace, a plague upon the honest and hard-working. However, where others saw insurmountable chaos, Haggar saw a personal challenge.
Not only did he address the corruption politically, but he also addressed it more directly, with his approach being epitomized by his renowned body slams and German suplexes. This is perhaps best seen in the Final Fight series, where he’s fighting the Mad Gear gang while aiding Cody and Guy in taking out the bad guys who took his daughter Jessica.
He Embraces Diversity
Final Fight shows Haggar’s ability to collaborate with an eclectic group of allies. This is particularly underscored by his interactions with Cody and Guy, who, unlike Haggar’s imposing physique, are your typical welterweight martial artists coming from different factions — which inherently makes them worlds apart.
This only attests to Haggar’s ability to foster unity and inspire people to cooperate with one another towards a common goal, even if that goal is deterring violent gang members by using a very persuasive argument — a lead pipe. So, despite his rugged exterior, Haggar brings together the disparate elements of Metro City, fostering an environment of unity and mutual respect.
Except for that one guy he tossed onto a transformer — that guy had it coming (end boss of Final Fight 3).
He Knows the Cost of Violence
It’s well known that Haggar was a dominant pro-wrestler before he became a politician, but before he entered the world of professional sports and entertainment, Haggar was a street fighter. His pro-wrestling career was somewhat explored in Slam Masters, but his days as a street fighter were never chronicled in any of Capcom’s releases.
However, though he fought for a noble cause, he eventually developed a distaste for violence and sought to make amends for all the fractures he inflicted by doing good throughout his political career. But unlike most modern real-world politicians who don’t fret about threatening war even when they don’t understand the real price of violence, Haggar doesn’t suffer from such hypocrisies.
In fact, he knows the high price of violence all too well, and he doesn’t wish it upon others unless they have it coming. He knows the cost of violence, which makes him a politician with genuine insight.
He Inspired Others
Okay, while I can’t claim with absolute certainty that Glen Jacobs (aka Kane) and Jesse Ventura — former WWE stars — were inspired by Mike Haggar, the former became the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, in 2018.
Jesse Ventura, on the other hand, was the mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, from 1991 to 1995, after which he became the governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. Unfortunately, neither of these two actually fought crime directly as Haggar did, despite their transitions to political roles closely resembling his.
The case for endorsing Mike Haggar for mayor (or perhaps even for president) transcends the confines of retro gaming nostalgia, as his historical video game exploits symbolize a unique blend of tenacity, collaboration, and family values that are indispensable in modern governance. Oh, and let’s not forget that iconic mustache, which is, in itself, a symbol of his legendary leadership.