Are you having trouble dealing with the Presidential campaign of 2016? We’ve had weird before. Teddy Roosevelt and his “Bull Moose” party. Strange. William Jennings Bryan and the “Cross of Gold” speech. Stranger. LBJ treating reporters to a look at the surgical scar on his flabby stomach. Stranger than strange. Now we have perhaps the strangest twist ever to burst onto the scene of Presidential politics. With a population in excess of three hundred million people, Americans have somehow chosen Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to compete for the most powerful position in the world.
Getting a handle on this bizarre election requires bizarre tactics. So instead of comparing 2016 to past elections, pull out a new frame of reference. Only the horror/sci-fi movie genre can lead us to a full comprehension of what we’re facing right now.
Let’s start with King Kong v. Godzilla. Think about it. If you’re a pedestrian in the screaming crowd when King Kong faces off with Godzilla, are you rooting for one monster over the other? Are you better off if Godzilla wins? If Kong triumphs? No, you’re just trying to get out of there between the falling skyscrapers! But looking at these movie characters helps us better understand the characters fighting on our Presidential stage. Who’s who? It’s obvious, isn’t it? Godzilla is a calculating fire breather. Kong is a lumbering ape who lets his emotions get ahead of him every time. You decide who’s who. Using this analytical lens, we suddenly gain a clearer picture of what we have here. And again, which way are you better off? (Watch out for that building!)
Want another lens? Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. Which is which? Again, it’s obvious. The Wolfman is vicious. He will tear your throat out because that’s what he does. When you see the Wolfman coming you have to hide. The way White House staffers used to duck through doors to avoid First Lady Hillary. Frankenstein is big, clumsy, and uncomprehending. He doesn’t mean to do the damage he does. He can’t help it. Either way though, you don’t want to be on hand to celebrate the victor, do you?
Finally, let’s look at Billy the Kid Meets Dracula. Yes, there really was such a movie. It’s hard to believe, but then it’s even harder to believe that we’re having this Presidential campaign. In B.K Meets Drac, You have a ruthless Old West outlaw versus the Prince of Darkness. Billy is frighteningly freewheeling, and doesn’t give a flip for consequences. Count Dracula is a careful, cunning bloodsucker. Billy is always unscripted; the Count measures every word and every move. Again, you figure out who fits whom, AND, ask the question: which adversary do you want to see win? Really.
The good news is that in horror/sci-fi movies the two battling forces usually end up destroying each other. They’re both eliminated in the end so that the world can go back to sleep. Perhaps what we need in this Presidential race is a little movie magic.