Almost every horror movie has the same archetypes: the Maniac, the Mean Girl, the Dumb Jock, the Stoner, the Nerdy Guy, the Condescending Douche, the Small Town Gadfly (who tries to warn them about the danger ahead) and what Carol Clover referred to in her groundbreaking book Men, Women and Chainsaws as the Final Girl.
The Final Girl is not the sexy one, the outgoing one, the outlandish one, or the hard partying one. She is bookish, quiet, observant, maybe even a bit of a tomboy. But she is also the only one with the strength, heart, grit, determination and ferocity to survive and kill the Maniac.
With few exceptions, all others will perish in the Maniac’s path.
As Halloween approaches, the 2016 United States Presidential Election is playing out very much like a horror movie. First, we have...
In the GOP primary, the Maniac slayed his way through all of the horror movie victim archetypes.
The Mean Girl:
The Dumb Jock:
The Nerdy Guy:
and, of course...
The Condescending Douche:
(along with 11 quickly forgotten extras)
It was a classic Friday the 13th style second act (metaphoric) massacre.
If only they had listened to...
The Small Town Gadfly:
...who was actually telling them the truth about the danger ahead.
Maniac Trump didn’t use physical violence for his political massacre (though he incited plenty), but instead used violent acerbic rhetoric to turn the GOP primary into a cesspool of cuckolding which favored his well honed grade school bullying skills and led him to victory.
In horror movies, the Maniac acts out our own dark shadow side and the audience cheers him on. These movies are a safe space to witness the most primal, shadowy base aspects of our own human nature without anyone (save for a few acting careers) being hurt.
Similarly, Donald Trump, can be as nasty, churlish, and rude as he wants to be in rallies, debates, and interviews and his fans will still cheer him on. They feel cheated by Washington, left behind by free trade, and terrified by increased tolerance of racial, sexual and religious minorities.
They see Trump as an avenging angel who will wipe out all the things they fear and hate. He — like Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers — is the avatar for their (increasingly less) repressed shadow self.
It’s human nature. Somewhere deep down, we all want to act out like an angry child against a world that is often frightening, confusing and chaotic.
However, unlike a darkened movie theater or living room, the White House is no safe space to put an avatar for our most primal and tribal instincts.
Because Trump is not just a threat to the usual victims — low income people and minorities.
Trump is an existential threat to our democracy and everyone who lives in it.
Trump is a man with business ties to the ex-KGB dictator of Russia. He incites white racial resentment in violent and dangerous ways, uses his own non-profit foundation as a slush fund to pay off legal fees, acts out on Twitter like a tween whenever his feelings get hurt, blabs about top secret security briefings (and lies while doing it) and threatens the freedom of the press we need to ensure there are checks and balances on those in power.
He also makes creepy sexual comments about his daughter and disturbing comments about someone assassinating his rival.
Trump is also a bald faced liar who goes far above and beyond the usual level of half-truths and weasel words we have come to expect from our political figures.
So, my fellow Americans, if you are seeing this year’s Presidential Election as a horror movie, and you are as concerned as I am about the survival of democracy, it’s time to buck up because we are now in the third and final act.
All of the other characters have been slayed.
We are left with only one person who can stop the Maniac.
She is bookish, quiet, observant, maybe a bit of a tomboy. She’s not the sexy one. But she is our only hope.
It’s time to face the fact that Hillary Clinton is...
The Final Girl:
Like Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Neve Campbell and all of the others who have come before her, only Hillary Clinton can (metaphorically) cut off the head of this uniquely American monster.
Only Hillary, with her blend of pragmatism, political prowess, practical progressivism, and ability to take and throw a political punch can stop the maniac from getting his absurdly tiny hands on the red nuclear button.
Like all of the best heroines, she is flawed, but we should all be rooting for her to succeed this November.
If we are lucky, this election ends like a horror movie — with Final Girl Hillary bloodied and exhausted, but triumphantly standing over the political corpse of fascism, white supremacy, bullying, homophobia, and racism that Donald Trump represents and empowers.
Unfortunately, even if our Final Girl is victorious, we must also remember another truth about the archetypal horror movie Maniac...
He is never permanently defeated... and always comes back stronger in the sequel.
Watch your back, Hillary! Trump TV launches in 2017...