Stephen King compares Trump to two characters from his books

Author says Trump voters 'wanted a man on horseback'

Author Stephen King has compared Donald Trump to two characters that appear in his books.

The writer – known for horror and thriller novels including Carrie, The Shining and IT – penned an article for The Guardian in which he described himself as “dismayed, but not particularly surprised” at Trump’s US election win.

Of Trump’s supporters, King said: “They didn’t just want change; they wanted a man on horseback. Trump filled the bill.”


King went on to compare Trump to Greg Stillson from his 1979 book The Dead Zone and Jim Rennie from 2009’s Under The Dome.

“I had written about such men before,” King continued. “In The Dead Zone, Greg Stillson is a door-to-door Bible salesman with a gift of gab, a ready wit and the common touch. He is laughed at when he runs for mayor in his small New England town, but he wins. He is laughed at when he runs for the House of Representatives (part of his platform is a promise to rocket America’s trash into outer space), but he wins again. When Johnny Smith, the novel’s precognitive hero, shakes his hand, he realizes that some day Stillson is going to laugh and joke his way into the White House, where he will start world war three.”

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“Big Jim Rennie in Under The Dome is cut from the same cloth. He’s a car salesman (selling being a key requirement for the successful politician), who is the head selectman in the small town of Chester’s Mill, when a dome comes down and cuts the community off from the world. He’s a crook, a cozener and a sociopath, the worst possible choice in a time of crisis, but he’s got a folksy, straight-from-the-shoulder delivery that people relate to. The fact that he’s incompetent at best and downright malevolent at worst doesn’t matter.”

“None of these people was stupid or evil. Potent truth serum forced them to say what they actually believe,” King added. “Both these stories were written years ago, but Stillson and Rennie bear enough of a resemblance to the current resident of the White House for me to flatter myself I have a country-fair understanding of how such men rise: first as a joke, then as a viable alternative to the status quo, and finally as elected officials who are headstrong, self-centered and inexperienced. Such men do not succeed to high office often, but when they do, the times are always troubled, the candidates in question charismatic, their proposed solutions to complex problems simple, straightforward and impractical. The baggage that should weigh these hucksters down becomes magically light, lifting them over the competition like Carl Fredricksen in the Pixar film Up. Trump’s negatives didn’t drag him down; on the contrary, they helped get him elected.”

Meanwhile, Stephen King’s IT is being adapted into a new film. Watch its trailer here.