Donald Trump Is an Idiot Savant on Nuclear Policy

Jeffrey Lewis
March 7, 2016

Source: WikiMedia Commons

Source: WikiMedia Commons

The following is an excerpt of an article published March 7 by Foreign Policy.

To me, Donald Trump evokes no fictional character better than Greg Stillson, the political demagogue in the Stephen King’s novel Dead Zone. Trump, as the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is a dead-ringer for Stillson from the film adaptation, from his phony working-class populism to his novelty hat on the campaign trail.

The Dead Zone is about a man with the power to see the future who, upon shaking Stillson’s hand at a campaign rally, foresees that he will go on to start a nuclear war as president. (And since Stillson is played by Martin Sheen, the movie offers West Wing fans the pleasure of watching Jeb Bartlett drop the big one).

The story is a modern fantasy along the lines of going back in time to kill Hitler, although King avoided overtly supporting an assassination in a pretty fantastic way. Our hero misses the villain during the climatic assassination attempt, but a panicked Stillson picks up a nearby child to use a human shield. Apparently that’s bad for votes.

For some reason, I don’t have the slightest problem imagining Trump cowering behind a child. Still, I don’t think we are likely to get such a cathartic comeuppance in real life. And I worry about testing Trump’s boast that he could shoot random strangers on Fifth Avenue and not lose votes.

Which leaves me thinking about that scene in which Stillson starts a nuclear war, and entertaining the thought of the Donald’s stubby little fingers on the button. The conclusion I’ve reached is that Trump is actually something of an idiot savant when it comes to nuclear weapons. Trump is a bigoted, misogynistic bully, sort of like Nixon after a couple of drinks. But when he says “I wouldn’t be nuking anybody,” I believe him.

→ Read the full article

Comments Are Closed