Who Was Gary Hart? The "Atari Democrat" Is Subject of 'The Front Runner'

Regenerative healing couldn't save Gary Hart from the scandal that destroyed his shot at the 1988 Presidential election. 

On the same day Americans vote in the 2018 midterms, former Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman will play real-life politician Gary Hart, who was a hair’s breadth away from the 1988 Democratic nomination for President before allegations of an affair torpedoed his campaign.

On Thursday, Columbia Pictures released the trailer for The Front Runner, a biographical comedy directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) and based on Matt Bai’s 2014 book All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid.

The film follows a chapter in the life of Gary Hart, who among other things was a leader in the group of politicians nicknamed “Atari Democrats” who saw technology as a path to job creation and a strong economy.

While there will probably be some mention of Hart’s role in criminalizing the illegal copying of integrated circuit layouts (he sponsored the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984), Jackman’s portrayal will be more concerned with Gary Hart’s failed effort to run for President in 1986.

As Hart rose to political stardom in the 1980s, the former Colorado senator withdrew after allegations of an extramarital affair with Miss South Carolina pageant winner Donna Rice dominated the news cycle, inadvertently establishing journalistic interest in the personal lives of politicians. It was a scandal that Hart, lacking regenerative healing factor, couldn’t recover from.

Actress Sara Paxton co-stars in The Front Runner playing Rice.

Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart in 'The Front Runner.'

Columbia Pictures

What a world when an alleged, consenting affair between two adults was enough to ruin a career in politics, and not bolster it with the targeted base.

The Front Runner hits theaters on November 6. Remember to go out and vote.

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