book review / culture

The Fictional Presidential Candidate Who Promised to ‘Make America Great Again’

How a work of science fiction anticipated the coming of Trump.
There is a charismatic man running for president with the slogan, “Help us make America great again.” He calls his enemies rapists and destroyers of the country. His opponent calls him a demagogue, a rabble-rouser, and a hypocrite. His supporters have been known to form mobs, get violent and burn people to death. He condemns the violence but “does so in such mild language that his people are free to hear what they want to hear.”

Meet Texas Senator Andrew Steele Jarret, the fictional presidential candidate in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, published in 1998.

Yes, two decades before Trump swept the Republican primaries, black science-fiction writer Octavia Butler wrote about a terrifying politician, “a big, handsome, black-haired man with deep, clear blue eyes that seduce people and hold them.” (So her crystal ball wasn’t entirely accurate; he didn’t have Trump’s red-orange hair.)

Trump’s campaign did not respond to a media inquiry about the origin of the “Make America Great Again” slogan, but Trump has insisted before that he made it up, getting mad when other Republican presidential candidates started using the same phrase last year.

“The line of ‘Make America great again,’ the phrase, that was mine, I came up with it about a year ago,” Trump said in 2015, as quoted by The Hill.
  …
View source