By James Wallace Harris, March 7, 2016
If back in 2012, you read a science fiction novel about the 2016 U.S. presidential election that perfectly described what’s going on this year, would you have believed it? The primaries are proof positive that truth is stranger than fiction. What writers could have imagined such a bizarre farce? Donna Tartt, Philip Roth, Jonathan Lethem, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, Tom Wolfe, E. L. James, Tom Robbins, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon? Hell, I think Finnegan’s Wake would be easier to understand.
And just think, if in ten years someone does write a novel about this election, could it ever capture its weirdness?
We don’t even know how the plot unfolds, or what the ending will be. There’s plenty of time for even bigger amazements.
And what about history? Was the 1932 election this crazy? Remember Theodore H. White? He wrote a series of books called The Making of the President series (1960, 1964, 1968, 1972). I wonder if I read those books now, would this election seem less unique and strange to me?
Wikipedia has a nice summary of the 1964 election, the first I remember in any detail. The article is not too long, but hints at a rather complex race during similarly polarized time in our nation.
The one thing 2016 is teaching me is how different I am from my fellow citizens. There are millions of people wanting candidates to be president that I can’t even conceive of anyone wanting for their leaders.
I think 2016 is the first time I’ve actually experienced Future Shock.
9 thoughts on “If The 2016 Election Was A Novel It Would Win A Pulitzer”
The right-wing predictions back in 2012 were all about how Obama was going to take over as some kind of dictator or something like that. lol – Your idea of a sci-fi book is much better. Actually, someone (? – probably several people) will write a non-fiction book about it and it will only go to show that truth is stranger than fiction.
It seems back in 2008, the press was predicting the end of the GOP because of the demographic changes that led to electing Obama. That might have been part of the reason why the GOP fought back so hard.
The melodrama of Season 4 of House of Cards (just released) is more believable! 🙂
Then maybe watching Netflix would be better for my mental health than watching the news. Maybe I’d feel better about the world.
Couldn’t hurt. 😀
The novel was already written: “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis, about a senator who promises to make America great again and who, once elected, takes over just as Hitler did. It was supposedly about Huey Long, but which could just as easily be about Trump. As for a SF novel, check this out from Wikipedia:
“Inspired by [“It Can’t Happen Here”], director–producer Kenneth Johnson wrote an adaptation titled Storm Warnings in 1982. The script was presented to NBC for production as a television miniseries, but NBC executives rejected the initial version, claiming it was too cerebral for the average American viewer. To make the script more marketable, the American fascists were re-cast as man-eating extraterrestrials, taking the story into the realm of science fiction. The revised story became the miniseries V, which premiered May 3, 1983.”
When I was young I read several novels by Sinclair Lewis, but not It Can’t Happen Here. I’ll have to find a copy. That’s bizarre how the miniseries V got started!!!
Do you really think that a dystopic novel could win a Pulitzer?
One by Lewis could, although probably not after he turned one down for Arrowsmith.