Before You Vote: 10 Authors Talk Trump

It’s probably the most banal, DUH, obvious statement that writers occupy an inherently political space. It goes without saying then, that more than a few have been vocal throughout the current election. More often than not, their cerebral chatter has been directed towards the could-be- president, Donald Trump. And, doing like writers do, they’ve been pretty prolific about their disapproval, even going so far as to sign a petition against the nominee earlier this year.  

Everyone, authors and we lowly book lovers alike, will be biting our nails next week. But, as we approach the ballot box on Tuesday, remembering some small authorial insight may serve us well. Courtesy of LitHub, here’s a hearty synopsis of what authors have been saying this election year. Courtesy of yours truly, here also are some election gifs and memes to mitigate (some) election-angst.


Richard Russo

I think it’s pretty clear that so many of the people that I know and love and have been writing about for a long time, alas, have lined up … with Mr. Trump. … I’m heartbroken. … I think America is changing. It’s changing before their eyes and I think that a lot of the angry white men who support Donald Trump have a belief that America has passed them by. And that people who don’t look like them are getting ahead in the new America. And I think they all understand in some ways that Donald Trump is speaking in a less coded way than some others in the Republican Party, but he’s saying Make America white again, not Make America great again. And I think, unfortunately, working class people have bought that. And that’s why my heart is broken.


Stephen King

I am very disappointed in the country. I think that [Trump]’s sort of the last stand of a sort of American male who feels like women have gotten out of their place and they’re letting in all these people that have the wrong skin colors. He speaks to those people. Trump is extremely popular because people would like to have a world where you just didn’t question that the white American was at the top of the pecking order.


Ben Lerner

Trump is so parodic and clownish. His language, since we are talking about literature, is post-semantic and totally post-rational. It’s like when you see a toddler holding something in their hands that they aren’t supposed to be holding and, when you ask them about it, they claim they aren’t holding anything, because they don’t have a very developed strategy for simulation. Trump is similar. But whereas with a toddler it can be cute, with Trump it is terrifying.

Image courtesy of Betches

Roxane Gay

He is unfamiliar with where America’s tax rate stands in a global context. He has no understanding of what it would take to ensure that all Americans can receive health care without a federal mandate. He has no understanding of international relations and the travesty that is taking place in Syria or what the word “humanitarian” means. The list goes on, and on. It is crystal clear that a Trump presidency would lead both the United States and the rest of the world into a dystopia the likes of which even the darkest of novelists cannot fathom.

Image courtesy of

J.K. Rowling

Look towards the Republican Party in America and shudder. ‘Make America Great Again!’ cries a man who is fascist in all but name. His stubby fingers are currently within horrifyingly close reach of America’s nuclear codes. He achieved this pre-eminence by proposing crude, unworkable solutions to complex threats. Terrorism? ‘Ban all Muslims!’ Immigration? ‘Build a wall!’ He has the temperament of an unstable nightclub bouncer, jeers at violence when it breaks out at his rallies and wears his disdain for women and minorities with pride. God help America. God help us all.


Junot Diaz

Trump is explained with the intersection of a number of things: our economic crisis, the way it’s easier to blame immigrants, with the happenstance that he discovered that by bashing Latino immigrants and characterizing them as “rapists” and “murderers” and “scumbags,” suddenly he’s got this groundswell of support from a group of people who were raised on this vocabulary. Part of it is eight years of a black president, and white America still lost their [minds] about that. Part of it is a Republican politics of vicious, vicious partisan [stuff] that has completely poisoned what we would call the political rhetorical sphere. All of these things come together in a perfect storm.

Image courtesy of Reddit

George Saunders

Although, to me, Trump seems the very opposite of a guardian angel, I thank him for this: I’ve never before imagined America as fragile, as an experiment that could, within my very lifetime, fail. But I imagine it that way now.

Image courtesy of The Odessey

Jeffrey Eugenides

I was asked [which literary character reminds you of Trump] the other day as well and finally came up with the Wizard of Oz which I don’t think is a particularly interesting answer. But he is convincing people that he is a magician and would easily be found to be a fraud. He really doesn’t know what he is doing. Yesterday he said there will be a terrible recession, but if he becomes president there won’t be, because he will fix everything. These kinds of statements are completely insane. First, the president, whoever he or she is, cannot control the economy with a single switch. If that was possible we would never have recessions or economic crises. So he reminds me of that. But he is who he is in reality and I am not even sure it’s that interesting to find a corollary in literature for him. He is almost a literary character as he exists now.

Image courtesy of The Odessey

Amy Tan

Trump: “If I lose, it’s okay, I go back to a very good way of life.” WTF!? You wreck the GOP, lead an uprising of racists—then play golf?


Ursula K. Le Guin

I tried to think of a headline about Donald Trump that would be unbelievable.

Trump Apologizes For Everything He Ever Said.

Trump Declares Himself Next Dalai Lama.

Trump Relieves Himself on Fox TV Newscaster on Fox TV.

Trump Dumps Wife, Woos Mrs. Cruz.

These are implausible, but are they unbelievable? The last two aren’t even very implausible.

Is anything about the current behavior of the Republican Party satirisable, or has it entered the Trump Zone – you can’t make it weirder than it is?


Featured image courtesy of NBC News.