Donald Trump and the End of the World – Cartoon Logic
Have you heard of the Doomsday Clock? Fun little idea this. The members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists maintain this imaginary clock, with some help from a few Nobel Laureates. They set it, every now and then, to a certain number of minutes to midnight; the closer to midnight, the closer we are to global catastrophe. This year, it was kept at three minutes to midnight, which is actually about as bad as it’s ever been. In 1953, it was at two minutes to midnight, but that was slap bang in the middle of the Cold War. It’s so close to midnight now because of nuclear weapons and also global warming, mostly.
I like the psychology of this project, because it’ll never ‘finish’ in any meaningful sense. It’ll either get so far from midnight as to be a useless indicator, or the world will end. If the world ends, I’m presuming the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists won’t have time to publish an alteration to the clock. It’ll never actually hit midnight, see? They are atomic scientists, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did manage to survive, perhaps as Hulk-style radiation beasts.
Turns out it’s an actual clock. That was news to me. It’s an actual clock hanging on the wall in a tiny room at the University of Chicago. They are scientists, so they’re obviously a clever bunch, but… is that safe? Have they posted a guard? I just worry that some ne’re-do-well will sneak onto campus, find the office and spin the clock forward to midnight, ending the world in the process. It should probably be behind some glass, or something.
Anyway, they chose not to move the clock forward this year, despite North Korea’s apparent ‘hydrogen bomb’ test, or the dangers of Daesh, or even our species’ fascination with trying to reach a new highscore on ‘Carbon Dioxide Hero’. They decided not to move it even though Donald Trump has enjoyed meteoric rise to the frontline of the US presidential election. And I think the SASBOTBOTAS really missed a chance there. (Best. Acronym. Ever.)
Trump is probably about as dangerous as those other things, I think. Maybe even all those other things combined. As dangerous as a carbon-puffing Kim Jong-un jihadi. Electing Trump is like giving a monkey a shotgun and setting him loose in a dynamite factory. You’re asking for trouble. Donald Trump is a grumpy, offensive, reactionary, thoughtless fool. Put him in charge of the nukes, and they will go off. They will. It’s only a matter of time. In which case, his election should probably throw us forward to one minute to midnight at least.
Until the US presidential election, then, I will maintain the ‘Trumpsday Clock’ in this column. Midnight on the Trumpsday Clock will occur once the results are announced, and only if Trump is elected. I will move the clock forward and backward depending on Trump’s chances; polemical ‘mass-appeal’ speeches and boosts to his polling numbers will move the clock forward, whilst major gaffes (although these seem to do him little damage) or alienation of the American electorate will move the clock backward.
At the moment, Trump is doing very well amongst the potential Republicans. He also polls quite strongly against both the likely democrats, Hilary Clinton and Bernie Saunders. If I were to pull a fairly convincing figure out of the air, I’d say he had about a 35% chance of winning the election. That puts us at about eight minutes to midnight. (These numbers are all guesswork, by the way. Can you tell?)
Hopefully, we will never see Trumpsday. Not in our lifetimes. But there will be other Trumps, just like there have been Trumps before, and Trumps must be fought. Trumps represent single-mindedness, bigotry and fear. Trumps don’t represent freedom. They don’t represent optimism. They don’t represent the good and the kind of this world.
Right now, all us non-Americans can do is hope.