September 23, 2020
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At the turn of the millennium, a movie franchise came back from the height of it’s popularity and shocked the world with a new trilogy. When it was learned that George Lucas would be creating three new Star Wars movies, no one predicted that they would be watching the movies on repeat to nit-pick the reasons for the rise of the Empire and no one predicted that they would be praising Lucas for his seemingly spot-on political commentary.

19 years later as President Donald J. Trump starts to wage his own Trade Wars, the central plot in The Phantom Menace, there seems to be a disturbance in the force. The Star Wars prequels are probably some of the best movies on political social commentary around. The perfect framework for how democracy fails and empires rise up. As a political geek, they hold a special place in my heart.

I often see these movies get quoted the most out of all of them, online, especially in political squabbles so it boggles the mind why there is almost universal hatred towards them. Say what you will about the jokes or the CGI, or the acting, but I think the original series and the new movies are a bit too childish, in comparison. It is an amazing and complex story.

Sam Nunberg?
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross?

Case in point. The cast of characters in the Trump WH (most of whom have left at this point), the Nixonian political playbook they use to attack democratic values and norms, the types of people that this President surrounds himself with, and his clueless supporters are all present in the Star Wars Prequels. And with Trump’s infatuation with Russian and American hookers, it won’t be long before international bounty hunters come in to the picture.

At this point in society, opinions about the star wars prequels are probably more polarized than American politics itself, with purists in the fandom criticizing anyone who likes them. Even though they are not as bad as those fanboys make it out to be. In US politics it’s much the same way. With political commentators on the right clueless cheerleaders. They see mysterious entities coming out of the shadows to get them (or their guns) in the night. The left’s insistence that Trump is already an evil dictator or that he wants to become one. Palpatine’s consolidation of power, in Episode III, may perfectly shadow the fall of the United States of America.

The beginnings of these real life Trade Wars, and an increasingly isolated President under multiple investigations and hundreds of lawsuits, is extremely dangerous, and almost everyone agrees. It breaths life into those very real fears that a Star Wars scenario for Trump and Congress, like what Palpatine did in the movies, is not only completely possible, but likely the only way Trump avoids incrimination. This is how Trump avoids incrimination…with thunderous applause. Trump recently “joked,” about how cool it would be to be President For Life, and though there seems to be some Republican backlash against him, Trump is charging full speed on tariffs with complete disregard.

To those who have claimed that Palpatine Trump did nothing wrong. I respond only with this:

You’ve been warned, and George Lucas was the one who did it first.


John J. Falco