An ongoing question in the presidential campaign of Donald Trump is whether, in fact, he would make a good president. His questionable temperament, lack of rudimentary organizational skills, sketchy grasp of policy, and feeble fundraising efforts have all raised understandable concerns on that front. But there is one situation in which Trump would inarguably make an excellent, top-notch, really great, first-rate president: an alien invasion.
Of course, the subject of alien-invasion readiness among real-world presidential candidates is nothing new: In 2012, the National Geographic Channel polled actual Americans on which real-life candidate was more suited to repel such an attack. (Barack Obama prevailed over Mitt Romney, with 64 percent of the vote). But a more useful indicator of which current candidate might best rebuff an onslaught from beyond the stars comes from the one place where these scenarios are routinely field-tested: the movies. Take, for example, the nameless president in Superman 2, played by E.G. Marshall, who cowers in the face of tyrannical alien interlopers and winds up, notoriously, kneeling before Zod. That nameless dude would make for a terrible real-life president! By contrast, perhaps the greatest alien-ass-kicking president of all time is the robustly named Thomas J. Whitmore, played by Bill Pullman in 1996’s Independence Day — and who returns this week, 20 years later and festively bearded, for Independence Day: Resurgence. (He’s not still the president in the movie; the modern day president is played, feistily, by Sela Ward.) In the original Independence Day, Whitmore established his alien-repelling bona fides by not only delivering a stirring speech, but by jumping into a flight suit to personally attack the mothership in a jet fighter. Unfortunately, neither of the current candidates have former jet-fighter pilot experience on their résumés. Trump, for his part, never served in the military, instead receiving a medical deferment during the Vietnam War due to bone spurs. But being a stirring speech giver cum reckless sky-cowboy isn’t the only skill set that might come in handy when confronting alien attackers. In fact, the skills which best qualify Trump as an excellent, wonderful, unbelievably fantastic president in the face of an alien horde aren’t the ones he has, but the ones he isn’t hindered by.
For example, tact. There are two types of villains in movies that are reliably presented without nuance: aliens and Nazis. (Even zombies can sometimes be the undead manifestations of former loved ones, which means our heroes tremble for a moment on the trigger before blasting them away.) Nazis can happily be dispatched in great bunches. Aliens, even more so. The great advantage of aliens, from a movie-villainy standpoint, is that they can be presented unequivocally as frightening, unstoppable, anthropomorphic kill-monsters and nothing more.
So you don’t try to negotiate with aliens. You don’t try to win them over. Eloquence, statesmanship, and gravitas are not qualities that are necessary when a giant spaceship is hovering over Washington with the White House in its sights. If movies have taught us anything, it’s that you blow aliens up, big time, and en masse. Sure, District 9 posited a world in which benign aliens land accidentally on Earth and are treated in, well, more or less the way Trump proposes to treat real-world immigrants to the U.S. (They are, arguably, treated slightly better — at least they get their own district.) But think back to ill-fated Jack Nicholson, as President Jimmy Dale in Mars Attacks, who launches into a rousing speech about interplanetary cooperation — even ending with a nod to the famous sentiment, “Why can’t we all just get along?” — only to get skewered on the spot like a kebab. An alien invasion is no time to extend the hand of friendship. It’s time to extend the middle finger of whoop ass, something you can actually easily envision from a theoretical President Trump.
Another skill you don’t need: diplomacy. As movies like Independence Day have taught us, when the entire globe is imperiled by other-worldly conquistadors, the entire globe will … stand around in vaguely nationalist costumes and wait for the U.S.A. to decide what to do. And is there any doubt what President Trump would do? He’ll gather the best people, really, the absolute top people, to formulate a plan, you’re not going to believe this plan, it will be an absolutely great plan that’s going to let the U.S.A. win bigly over these aliens, we’re going to win so much over these Martians, at least until we figure out what the hell is going on.
So when the murderous, chittering insectoids from Planet X come calling with their laser drills, are you telling me you don’t want this guy leading the charge for Team Planet Earth? Are you pretending that you wouldn’t thrill to the vision of Earth’s own Cheeto Jesus building that wall or electrified force dome or other impractical giant apparatus that will protect us all from the rampaging hordes of intergalactic assassins? Think about it: A fictional invasion by soulless anthropomorphic kill-monsters from outer space is the one scenario — perhaps the only scenario — in which the prospect of President Trump seems entirely reassuring. Do your worst, Mars, because we’re Earth, and we’re going to win. We’re going to win so much.