Making sense of Lewis Black’s pre-election prophecy

One month before the election, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart holdover correspondent Lewis Black turned up on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to record a fresh segment of Back in Black. He highlighted how few Americans choose to vote and urged eligible voters to overcome personal distaste for both candidates:

No one’s qualified? Since when does that matter? Listen, jerk, this isn’t like deciding not to go to the movies because they all suck. Fact is, we’re gonna have to see a movie whether we like it or not. And that movie’s gonna be four. years. long.

And you better hope it’s not the one that ends with Trump nuking Wisconsin.

The election seems to have vindicated Black so far. Most obviously, he was right to be concerned about voter turnout: Although it did increase in some states compared to 2012 — as tends to happen when there is no incumbent up for reelection — it declined in several others. For example, turnout was down 3% in Wisconsin, where Trump won by about 1%  — pending the outcome of Jill Stein’s recount — and where Black’s prophecy probably should have caused more pause before voters used their paws to pull the lever for Trump-Pence.

Admittedly, that apocalyptic vision has yet to transpire — Trump isn’t even President! — but there’s reason to believe it might yet.

Now, we all know the vast majority of Americans (upset as they may be with the way Wisconsin voted) are not eager to watch any sort of M. Night Shyamalan-style twist in which President Trump obliterates one of the states that contributed to his surprise victory — but primarily because most Americans are not particularly interested in watching anything involving M. Night Shyamalan.

Of course, the easiest way to imagine Trump nuking Wisconsin involves his ten butterfinger minis. But bear with me as I lay out a slightly more plausible scenario in which Trump nukes Wisconsin:

Donald Trump has promised to end Obama’s “War on Coal”. Many experts have argued that this campaign promise is unrealistic, seeing as to how the cause of coal’s decline is not some nefarious Kenyan plot but cheap natural gas made available thanks to the fracking boom. That means for Trump to follow through on his promise to rehabilitate the coal industry, he may need to find some way to bring up the price of natural gas. And if we’ve learned anything about Trump’s economic policies so far, he’s not afraid of micromanaging:

Coal of course wouldn’t be the only energy source to benefit from costlier natural gas. While black diamond draws the headlines, the nuclear power industry is also struggling mightily to keep up with cheap gas and would similarly benefit from a slowdown in fracking. While I could see Trump doing his damnedest to ensure costlier natural gas in no way benefits the wind industry, there’s no reason Donald would object to his pro-coal policies inadvertently benefiting nuclear. Indeed, there is instead strong reason to believe President Trump would be quite happy to help the industry out. “I’m in favor of nuclear energy, very strongly in favor of nuclear energy,” he told Neil Cavuto. “We do need nuclear energy, and we need a lot of it fast.”

And as it turns out, Wisconsin very well might be among the first places impacted by Trump’s policies. First and foremost, because it has the capability to move “fast”. Although it takes a long time to build a new nuclear power station, recently-closed plants — like the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin, which is licensed to operate through 2033 but closed in 2013 due to intense competition from natural gas — could presumably resume operations relatively soon.

More importantly, recall that Jill Stein is about to make the Donald suffer through a ‘very unfair’ recount process in Wisconsin. What better way for a famously petty and vindictive autocrat to hit back at her than by promoting nuclear power? And where better to twist the knife than in the very state Stein pushed to recount first?

Should Trump succeed in expanding the role of nuclear energy in that state, then — BOOM —  so far as Jill’s concerned, Wisconsin just got nuked. And for those of you who complain I have nothing nice to say about our President-elect, at least now we’ll have a Republican President who knows how to pronounce the word “nuclear”.


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