top of page

Time to Write That Dystopian Novel

There is no time to waste. Start with the ridiculous plot that a none-too-bright reality show host runs for president as a right-wing authoritarian with racist, sexist, and related intolerant views focusing on hate and fear runs for president. (Immigrants and Muslins are bad, bad, bad, the result of political incompetents and losers, plus the Washington swamp—the elites are wrong on all issues). His opponent is a highly qualified woman who is a workaholic, political wonk. (Conveniently, his adopted party has been savaging her for 30 years—Benghazi, emails, Benghazi, emails.) The mainstream media and assorted others try to laugh him off the stage. On the campaign trail, he is that reality star, not a politician, violating the standard norms of decency. The media starts counting the lies and insults. To most people’s shock, he wins not only the nomination, but the presidency. Alternative facts win the day. He starts by firing as many competent people in the executive branch as possible and replacing them with big-bucks supporters and sundry political hacks. Self-dealing is in, loyalty to country is out. More are canned as they did not prove to be loyal to him only.

Turns out his adopted party controls both houses of Congress and soon get a majority on the Supreme Court. Even more ridiculous, member of the party he joined are roundly defeated in upcoming elections if they disagree with him, sometimes over minor issues. The remainder turn super-loyalists. Reelection over principles is the mantra. Although he is categorically not religious and blatantly immoral (violating the seven deadly sins, with the possible exception of sloth), his biggest supporters are evangelical Christians. Are they expecting Armageddon? He maintains his partisan support, although he opposes all global policies that made post-World War II America great and respected around the world. He also abrogated treaty after treaty, especially those negotiated by his predecessor. "Make America great again" apparently means insulting all the allies and supporting dictators whose iron control he adores.

Let’s make the plot totally absurd. A devastating global pandemic causes a medical and economic emergency across the world. The Americans, which have the best scientists and ability to deal with the pandemic, behave among the worst in the world. That takes genius (assuming the purpose is to maximize havoc and death); otherwise, total incompetence at the top. Then he rejects all responsibility: it’s China, Democratic governors and the Washington swamp. This is a tricky part: how to make an arrogant, incompetent villain believable. The villain should be brilliant at finding an excuse for marshall law, then taking over all civil functions. That's total control!

We’re not done yet. He’s up for reelection and the polls show he’s losing. He’s not leaving. There are multiple tricks in the bag. First, voter suppression, which has been used by the party for decades—it’s getting more sophisticated every election cycle. Call on Putin for continued cyber hacking and propaganda. Wait. He can destroy the post office, just by defunding it and putting a political hack in charge. Try to postpone the election, preferably indefinitely. If all these don’t work, declare the election a fraud and refuse to leave. The evil deep state cheated. Count on the federal military and police forces to support his cause. Plus, the supporting militias—they’re could be hundreds of these ready to mobilize. There is lots of flexibility here to build in maximum chaos and action. Political order and rule of law suggests this should not succeed. As a best-selling author, you have to root for this villain to win to turn this into a super series with movie rights. He pulls out his secret emergency powers, developed during the cold war when nuclear annihilation was possible and quick action necessary. Congressional leaders and resistant governors are arrested. There is no end to possible scenarios. Quick, so you can beat out Stephen King to the best seller list. The arrest and kill list could be huge, all the better for an action thriller.

No, wait. This is too far fetched and makes Game of Thrones believable. Even a World War I German corporal writing Mein Kampf from jail in the 1920s about how he will conquer the world seems more realistic. This will never sell.

If this far-fetched plot proved true, a move to Canada looks tempting, assuming we're not arrested and the border remains open. I understand they are more accommodating to immigration from the south than the US. I could take French lessons, move to Montreal, and catch up on my French-Canadian heritage. Global warming should make the move from Texas more compatible. Oh, wait. My wife says Costa Rica. It will have to be Spanish lessons.

bottom of page