There’s only one endorsement that would hold any weight this election season, and it would come from a man who knows more about ruthless ambition, moral ambiguity, corruption, greed and leadership over a vapid, subjugated populace than most in Washington. He is George RR Martin, supreme ruler of Westeros.
“When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die,” Martin wrote in the series’ first book. “There is no middle ground.” The words bear eerie forbearance to November 8, when a new ruler will ascend the Iron Throne of America.
On the one side, we have the real-life equivalent of Ramsey, the petulant son whose power from a “very small” multi-million loan from his father helped finance a campaign rooted in resentment and loathing, whose appeal rests almost solely on the pale-skinned masses, those ready to build walls, defend guns and “knock the hell out ISIS.” Perhaps even flay some skin.
Then there’s Tyrion, the smartest person in the room, underestimated throughout her entire career, despised for her ambition, vilified for her networks, resented for her acumen. She is not the Daenerys Targaryen of the Sanders campaign. She would not liberate Meereen without a plan. She is slower, more methodical. Her secrecy serves as evidence of her low cunning, and she sleeps with the enemy in a way that repulses even her most ardent supporters. She may not be likable, but she gets the job done.
Meanwhile, the American Meereenese grow restless.
In a 2011 paper, economists Michael Norton and Dan Ariely asked more than 5,000 Americans to construct their ideal distributions of wealth. Most underestimated the power of the rich (believing that the richest fifth own 59 percent of the wealth when, in fact, they own 84 percent), and they overestimated the amount of the poor (predicting that the bottom 40 percent should own 9 percent of the wealth when it is actually 0.3 percent).
Worldwide, the richest 62 people now possess as much wealth as the poorest half of the population, and the richest one percent of the world now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined.
Poor people are pissed, and their anger is often targeted at fellow impoverished, marginalized communities, quite often, communities of color.
Through widening economic disparities, growing tension over which lives matter, channeled rage against the political machine, there is a heightened sense of dissatisfaction that portends a rising risk of social unrest in American society. It is playing out on the national stage, in the highest office in the land.
Which is why we need you now, Ser Martin the Bold. As you yourself stated earlier this year, “All fiction has to have a certain amount of truth in it to be powerful.”
With so much at stake—territory battles in the South China Sea (our real-life Iron Isles); a refugee crisis that has us turning a blind eye to the tired, poor and huddled masses (the wildlings aren’t the enemy!); a Middle East backed by the Roose Bolton of Russia; a growing war against women’s health (where do whores go when they have no access to medical care?); and potentially three Supreme Court seats up for grabs (critical vacancies in the Small Council)—we need you.
You may not believe Hillary to be the Tyrion of the election. To you, she is the more ruthless and diabolical big sister Cersei. But as your followers point out, what does that make Trump? “America’s version of Ramsey Bolton,” asks @samuraihawk. “Mad king [Aerys],” adds @thekaurageousss. Perhaps “Tywin, Ramsey, Joffrey and Little Finger. All together,” according to @lonchoarias.
The queen regnant might be looking out for her self-interests, but her 2016 counterpart is too smart, too ambitious, too proud to let her country erupt in a cloud of wildfire. She will invest in infrastructure, in women and children, in the services that make America great (or, at least, in the ones that cement her legacy on the right side of history). With Ramsay, anything is possible.
Trump may not be your Ramsay, but we all know he’s no Tyrion. He’s selfish and scary. His policies support the economic rulers of Meereen, the richest one percent, which is why it baffles the mind that those in the fighting pits would elect him to power.
And yet the might. Unless you remind them of who they’re voting for. So who is Donald Trump?
Washington is too hard to compute, but Westeros we know. Only you can help put the insanity of this election in terms we can understand.