It Was Supposed To Be A Satire. It Turned Out To Be A Prophecy.
by ANDREW SHAFFER
Last summer, I published The Day of the Donald, a satirical thriller set in a world in which the pigment-challenged son of a millionaire real-estate magnate ascended to the highest office in the land. Since the election, the response to my clairvoyancy has been mixed. Some readers have asked me for next week’s winning lottery numbers, while others have pointed fingers.
“You made all of this happen with your book,” one Twitter user scolded me. “You Stay Puft Marshmallow-manned us in the worst way.”
In my defense, I wrote the book in early 2016, when nobody believed Trump’s primary lead would last. It was simply unthinkable. And because there was no chance the American people would ever elect a reality TV star president, I was free to imagine an outlandish future dystopia untethered from reality.
I imagined that a ragtag resistance would rise from the ashes of the left. I imagined Trump lining the shelves of the West Wing with his own books. I imagined a cozy relationship between Trump and Putin, complete with shirtless horseback rides and panda hunts at the National Zoo.
Many of my more outlandish predictions haven’t come to pass…yet. Give them time.
I didn’t see everything in my tremendous crystal balls, though. I didn’t foresee:
- Trump suggesting that the “Second Amendment people” do something about his opponent
- “Grab them by the pussy”
- Wait, he was serious about the wall?!
- Russian hackers compromising the election
- LITERAL FUCKING NAZIS
At times, real life has felt like a satire of the bizzaro world I imagined in my novel. “The difference between reality and fiction?” Tom Clancy once said. “Fiction has to make sense.”
Even though it sometimes feels like we’re through the looking glass, it hasn’t all been a horror show. I didn’t foresee:
- Trump losing the popular vote by three million
- Woke Teen Vogue
- The record-low approval rating for President Trump on Day One
- The Badlands National Park Twitter account going rogue
- 1984 and It Can’t Happen Here on the bestseller lists
I also didn’t see millions of women, men, and children donning pink “pussy hats” and marching for women’s rights. I didn’t see thousands of Americans came together to protest the detention and deportation of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
In contrast to the scattered resistance in my novel, the real-life resistance hasn’t been driven underground. Americans aren’t as complacent as I’d imagined. There’s fear in the air, but we’re not going to go into hiding. The revolution will be televised.*
*Subject to blackout restrictions
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Andrew Shaffer is the New York Times bestselling author of the essential survival guide, How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters, and the Goodreads Choice semifinalist Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, amongst other humorous fiction and nonfiction books. His most recent books are Ghosts from Our Past: Both Literally and Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal, a tie-in to the 2016 Ghostbusters film, and The Day of the Donald: Trump Trumps America, a political thriller starring the Republican presidential candidate.