One of the most dramatic parts of the movie is when Jeff Smith takes the floor of the Senate and holds it in a filibuster.
This is a great illustration of what a traditional filibuster actually is and how physically demanding it can be.
In the movie Jeff Smith brought an apple for a snack, and you can watch a video of Rand Paul eating a candy bar on the Senate floor halfway through his thirteen hour filibuster. Jim is as dishonest and evil as Jeff is good and honest.
On the one hand, Jim Taylor provides a concrete example of corruption in politics.
He’s using his influence to directly profit himself.
But underneath the surface is a more subtle question of the extent to which is influence itself is corrupting and bad.
But it’s an interesting plot element for talking about the role of the media.
Today, you could definitely communicate with lightning speed via social media.
Ultimately, they land on Jefferson Smith – a Boy Scout leader and a naive, model citizen – as a replacement.
Jim Taylor is plotting to make a lot of money through a real estate scheme, and he needs a Senator that won’t ask too many questions about what’s going on.