Martin Sheen plays Greg Stillson, the fictional senator and presidential candidate in the movie The Dead Zone (see The Trump Dead Zone). Popular and charismatic, Stillson is on his way to becoming president of the US until he shields himself with a baby after the hero of the story tries to shoot him.
Will the failed Trump rally in Chicago and then Trump lashing out in anger be remembered as Trump’s “Stillson” Moment? Was it a tidal shift in support for Donald Trump?
After a Chicago rally was cancelled and it devolved into chaos and near riots, most of the world, save for Donald Trump’s supporters, rightfully condemned his increasingly violent rhetoric turned reality–Reality TV Show.
Rather than regretting his inciteful language, Trump is doubling and tripling down on past statements where he longed for the “old days” when protestors would “be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” He blames everybody else when violence breaks out, “Bernie’s people,” “professional agitators” and claims the media has been “unfair” to him, though to be “really, really” fair, Trump has always seen any kind of accountability as unfair.
Trump pretends to not make a connection between a statement like, “OK, just knock the hell, I promise you I will pay for the legal fees” and when one of his supporters actually does sucker punch a protester. It’s a ridiculous “who me?” routine by a man who claims to be “very, very smart”. Of course now Trump can’t remember promising to pay the legal defense of his violent supporters either, but even if he doesn’t reward his supporters for acts of violence, I imagine it’s only a matter of time till the victim of the sucker punch, or another person hurt in a Trump Rally sues Donald Trump.
With an increasingly violent and menacing tone, the Trump campaign is taking on an ugliness that leads us to ask: If this is what a Trump campaign is like, what will a Trump presidency be like? Violent attacks inspired by Trump are already on the increase (Six times people were attacked at Trump Rallies, Men cite Trump after beating homeless man,) and even schoolkids are taunting classmates of color calling them Trump deportees.
In the movie The Dead Zone, the shooter, Johnny Smith, played by Christopher Walken is another of Stephen King’s wonderfully flawed and conflicted figures dying for our sins, but no one should have to die for our current polital climate. The events before the mid-March 2016 primaries may indeed be a “Stillson” moment for the US: The time when we finally saw Donald Trump for what he is not—presidential material.