The American Presidential election of 2016 has displayed a tumultuous variety of words and speeches, and the resulting analyses about this election have followed suit. While many discussions have targeted the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and brought up many valid concerns, allegations, and conflicts of interest against her, there is one comparison that seems to be particularly fascinating to Star Wars fans: the association of Donald Trump with Jabba the Hutt (examples are here, here, and here). Most of these correlations have been satirical, or at the very least shallow in their analyses—but I’d like to seriously discuss if these are accurate parallels or mere semblances between the two figures. It seems there are three aspects in which they are often associated together:
- Business Transactions:
Both Jabba and Donald Trump built their initial reputations from their businesses, and both can get a bad rap. Jabba is a crime lord, trading narcotics and illegal substances while taking effective political command of vast regions of space—according to Bloodline, he left such enormous black markets open that several different mob bosses claimed them after his death. And according to his critics, Donald Trump has also participated in a variety of shady (or at the very least, odd) transactions that may appear similar to Jabba’s. The accusations range from purchasing portraits of himself at charity auctions and a business scam in the form of an unlicensed university to allegations of broken anti-discrimination policies and monetary ties with mafias.
However, while Donald Trump has been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits, he still avoids convictions. And, more obviously, his business is nowhere near as deplorable as Jabba the Hutt’s. Jabba the Hutt’s entirety of wealth was built from illegal activities, and his reputation was one of purely unlawful dominion. So, are Trump’s questionable business activities truly resembling of Jabba the Hutt’s? Of course not. While he has several doubtful events in his past, Trump publicly condemns illegal practices and has at least a few businesses that can stand on their own as reputable organizations—which are two facts that Jabba cannot claim for himself. The comparison is relatively unsound.
- Remarkable Confidence:
Another similarity that, on the surface, appears possibly valid between Donald Trump and Jabba the Hutt is their shared confidence. In the face of any danger, they both tend to scoff at risks, disregard accusations, or deny attackers, for better or for worse. When Leia threatens Jabba the Hutt with a thermal detonator, Jabba laughs and simply compliments his opponent before offering an ultimatum. When Donald Trump considered Hillary’s chances of winning aloud, he laughed and simply asked how embarrassing that defeat would be. Later in Return of the Jedi, well after Luke has proven his seriousness in slaying Jabba’s pet monster, he tells Jabba: “Free us or die.” Once again, Jabba laughs and then commands that his opponent be sent into the deadly Pit of Carkoon. In like manner, when Trump faced increasingly negative polls in mid-October that heavily predicted his loss, he balked at a legitimate defeat, explaining how the election was rigged and how he’d determine if the validity of any loss on his part was true when the time came.
It is here where a distinction should be made. Jabba’s confidence seems more direct in these situations, but he also more clearly has the upper hand. With Leia, he can very rationally understand that all he has to do is keep offering a higher amount of money to save his skin. And Luke, a single, unarmed warrior who barely had the luck to kill Jabba’s monstrous pet, appears to be the only person threatening Jabba and his surrounding entourage of thugs, mercenaries, and bounty hunters—Jabba’s confidence in Return of the Jedi seems, from his perspective, undeniably logical. Donald Trump, on the other hand, scoffed at the concept of a valid defeat in mid-October even though he was obviously challenged by his opponent at the time; even if certain polls and predictions had errors of over 25%, he was still more likely to lose against Clinton. Yet he was somehow able to maintain a confident position despite these statistics standing against him, managing to laugh at the high chance of losing and blame the possibility of defeat on something unrelated to his quality as a winner. Subsequently, it seems Donald Trump actually has much more confidence than Jabba the Hutt—or at the very least, has had better situations to display such unfaltering self-assurance. It is up to the voters to decide if such conviction is a sign of an informed leader or an ignorant one.
- Treatment of Women:
The final link most commonly made between Donald Trump and Jabba the Hutt are accusations of misogyny. At first glance, an uninformed voter might mistake their behavior as vaguely similar but find one distinctly more condemnable—Jabba the Hutt forces Leia, a dignified princess and warrior, into a metal bikini and chains her around the neck while surrounding himself and his entourage by all sorts of female dancers. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has over a dozen sexual assault allegations standing against him and has been accused of misogyny for saying that “I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist, but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof,” and asserting that “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab them by the p***y.”
Though Trump’s words and rumored actions obviously must be renounced, the initial comparison between these two figures just doesn’t stand. It seems that Jabba the Hutt’s acts of sexual enslavement and public abuse are easily more incriminating at the moment than whatever Donald Trump has been proven to commit. Additionally, Donald Trump has attempted to deny or apologize for the worst of these acts or accusations.
Yet another distinction must be made here. Jabba the Hutt undoubtedly has displayed more incriminating acts open to the view of the public—but Jabba the Hutt does not defend his actions. He makes no apologies for inappropriate behavior, he offers no acknowledgement to even the slightest of his maltreatments, and he is not running for president. Donald Trump, however, can misleadingly offer excuses for a variety of actions while attempting to convince others of his moral character. In one case, he expressed regret about stating that he didn’t “even wait to start kissing [women],” later saying, “I was wrong, and I apologize.” However, when pressed upon the previous comments and informed that his words described sexual assault, instead of clarifying that he knew his words meant disregarding the idea of consent, he replied, “No, I didn’t say that at all.” He proceeded to repeatedly defend the words as “locker room talk.”
Such an apology has distinctly different effects from Jabba the Hutt’s behavior. Donald Trump’s apologies minimize the seriousness of his words—and in so doing offer justification for others to continue in his footsteps, excusing their actions as something “done for the purpose of entertainment” or being only examples of “locker room” behavior. While Jabba is blatantly unrepentant, allowing the audience to easily call out his mistakes, Donald Trump can deny wrongdoings or justify unethical statements, making his missteps much more difficult to call out and correct. It is up to the voter to determine if brash behavior in a gangster’s palace is more damaging than a mitigating mindset towards violating human rights in the Executive Office of the President.
Upon analysis, we see that Jabba the Hutt and Donald Trump share little resemblance between each other. Jabba the Hutt clearly has more overtly questionable business transactions, while Donald Trump holds a particularly potent sense of self-confidence and more openly defends condemnable acts against other people. Apart from the possibility of both figure’s defeats coming from women of extensive political backgrounds, the comparison between the two should stay as satirical and shallow as most of its creditors originally intended—but voters need to consider the fact that this comparison is still being made. And they should understand the implications of voting for any candidate that arguably trumps Jabba the Hutt in some of his most distinct characteristics.