Get our newsletters
Letters to the Herald

It can’t happen here...can it?


In his novel “It Can’t Happen Here” (1935), Sinclair Lewis foresees the dangers to our democracy posed by a Donald Trump presidency. Lewis is one of America’s most famous and accomplished authors, having also written Babbitt (1922), Arrowsmith (1925) and Main Street (1920).

“It Can’t Happen Here,” tells the rise of populist senator and mesmerizing orator Buzz Windrip to the United States presidency. When people attend a Windrip rally, they learn “how charismatic Windrip really is; even though Windrip doesn’t make any coherent point, he’s so passionate and relatable that people genuinely start to believe that he will solve all their problems.” (ListCharts)

Many people believe that the United States has a bedrock democracy that cannot be shaken. It is the world’s oldest democracy, too firmly established to be overturned. We may be kidding ourselves. As soon as Windrip becomes president, he deposes the Supreme Court, throttles Congress, controls the media, and suppresses all political parties other than his own. Now, Trump’s authoritarian nature moves him to oppress others who do not agree with him.

“Through his satire, Lewis encourages his readers to defend their nation’s democracy and reject any political movement that claims it must take away people’s rights and freedoms in order to save them from threats — lest they fail to recognize the true threat until it is too late.” (ListCharts).

Gary Patton, Princeton

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.