In this political season, the WVU Humanities Center will host Charlie vs. Goliath, a documentary about an unlikely political candidate in a moment in the history of elections that asks us to consider the meaning and value of the term "democracy." The film will screened on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 7 p.m in the Gluck Theatre of the Mountainlair. It is free and open to the public.
The screening will be followed by a talkback with elections expert Dr. Erik Herron, Eberly Family Professor of Political Science.
Charlie vs Goliath is a feature-length documentary about an ordinary man’s extraordinary struggle to shake up the political establishment. It would be hard to find a more unlikely candidate than Charlie Hardy, a 75-year-old penniless former Catholic priest who spent nearly a decade serving the poor while living in a cardboard shack in a Venezuelan slum. In 2011, Charlie returns to his hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is shocked to see poverty, hunger and homelessness.
After being snubbed by his congressional representatives, Charlie decides to run for office himself in 2014 and manages to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for the US Senate. His Republican opponent has a $3 million war chest, and Charlie’s advisors urge him to focus his efforts on fundraising. Instead, Charlie rejects money from special interests and makes campaign finance reform a key part of his platform. The election is considered the most lopsided in the country and his friends say he is “tilting at windmills.” But Charlie is convinced he will triumph even with all the cards stacked against him. A 21st century Don Quixote, Charlie galvanizes a ragged band of young volunteers determined to make waves in Wyoming’s elections, and in so doing set a precedent for the rest of the country.
The film provides an intimate portrayal of this resolute and uniquely charismatic septuagenarian while revealing an inside look at a campaign fueled by hope rather than money. Challenging the belief that our political process is fair and democratic, explores the question of how an honest and sincere person without money can make a difference running for higher office, and more broadly, whether, in the spirit of Don Quixote, it is worth fighting an unbeatable foe and dreaming an impossible dream.