The 'Flight 93' election has ended in disaster

Revisiting the most influential pro-Trump essay of 2016 amid the pandemic

President Trump.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

Easily the most influential pro-Trump essay of the 2016 election cycle was "The Flight 93 Election" by the pseudonymous author Publius Decius Mus (later revealed to be author Michael Anton, who went on to serve on Donald Trump's national security council — and who, 16 years prior to that, was my boss when I briefly served as a speechwriter for then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani).

The essay, a masterpiece of lurid metaphor and ideological hysteria, made, at its core, a very simple argument: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was the equivalent of a terrorist hijacker who, if given control of our plane/country, was certain to kill us all. Empowering Trump's campaign to defeat her was very risky as well, but with Trump seizing the cockpit, the country — and above all, the country's conservatives — had a shot at survival: "With Trump, at least you can … take your chances."

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