It Can’t Happen There, or, Worse Than Voldemort

Eighty years ago, Sinclair Lewis published It Can’t Happen Here, a nightmare tale of the 1936 presidential election gone wrong. In the book, the Democratic nomination went to a populist demagogue called Buzz Windrip, not to FDR as it actually did, and Buzz went on to win the 1936 election. He promptly established a fascist dictatorship along European lines with the help of paramilitary volunteers.

After Trump’s “bar the Muslims” speech, Buzz-Donald parallels have become unavoidable. At least one commenter pointed out the similarity last July. It’s going to gain currency now that Trump is officially a “fascist.” (But where are his Minute Men?)

Too bad there is only one living Nobel Prize winner in American letters, Toni Morrison, and it’s unlikely she would even consider a novel with Trump the protagonist. The literary minded will have to make do with JK Rowling’s tweet: “How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad.” As Trump, that is.


  1. What the mainstream media isn’t telling us is that during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979, Jimmy Carter banned Iranians from entering the US and ordered 15,000 already in to report to immigration offices for deportation. I guess it would detract from the narrative that Trump is really Hitler.

    • It’s a matter of putting it in the right terms. Saying you’re going to ban Muslims sounds like overt discrimination against followers of a religion and is perceived as un-American. Saying that immigration from certain countries needs to be restricted sounds like sensible policy during a crisis brought about by terrorist violence.

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