Way back, well before my time, American author Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel with the title, “It Can’t Happen Here.” It was 1935 to be precise. It’s not unusual for a novel to be colored by the current historical situation of the day when they are written, and that’s certainly true with Lewis’ book.
Hitler was coming to power in Germany and fascism was spreading around Europe. In the United States, a wild card from Louisiana named Huey Long was making preparations to run for president in the ’36 election. However, he was assassinated shortly before the novel was published.
The story is about a character named Berzelius Windrip, more frequently referred to as Buzz. Windrip defeated FDR in the primary and was eventually elected as President. His campaign was based on creating fear and promising a return to patriotism and traditional American values. Does that last sentence sound familiar to you?
The similarities between a fictional President and our current President nearly 80 years later are eerie. Here’s a list of some of them:
- Had a ghostwritten book that was a big seller and made him popular
- Wife not involved in his campaign, stayed home to raise the kids
- A strong supporter of veterans
- The New York Times was anti-Windrip
- Most religious periodicals wrote that he had been called of God
- Strong emphasis on patriotism
- Promises to return the country to greatness and prosperity