J.K. Rowling just burned Donald Trump on Twitter. Was she right?
After Donald Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States, J.K. Rowling took him to school as only she can.
"Oh snap," replied the entire Internet all at once.
"OH SNAP!" the Internet later added.
While Rowling's tweet is obviously very cathartic for those horrified by Trump's bizarre Islamophobic comments and increasingly terrifying policy proposals, it also raises, perhaps, the most critical question of the 2016 election:
Is Donald Trump actually worse than Voldemort?
Let's take a look at the evidence — in the five most relevant bad-guy categories.
1. Demonizing and scapegoating an entire ethnic group.
Voldemort really had it in for Muggles and half-blood wizards, going so far as to start an entire wizard-on-wizard war in order to purge them from magical society.
Donald Trump, admittedly, hasn't quite gotten there yet, but he has been ratcheting up his anti-Muslim rhetoric — first by suggesting Muslims should be placed on a watch list, then floating the idea of closing down mosques, and finally by openly calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, including, presumably, all refugees fleeing terror in Syria, Iraqi translators who risked their lives helping American troops, and even — bizarrely — American citizens who are Muslim and happen to be living abroad.
That said, Voldemort super doubleplus infinity — personally — hated anyone of mixed Muggle/wizard heritage, running around calling them "mudbloods" to anyone who would listen. To Trump's credit (three words I can't believe I just used in that order), he hasn't resorted to deploying racial slurs outright. Yet. It's also hard to imagine Voldemort saying, "I love the Muggles. I think they're great people."
And Trump hasn't straight-up murdered a random German family for no reason.
Minor Advantage: Voldemort.
2. Owning a snake.
Like any super-villain who's anyone, Voldemort owned a giant, man-eating snake infested with a literal shard of his own coal-dark soul.
As far as we know, Trump does not own a snake.
As far as we know.
Major Advantage: Voldemort.
3. Whipping up racist, xenophobic sentiment in a large group of dedicated followers.
Both Voldemort and Trump not only managed to amass a loyal cadre of devotees, they also used/are using their highly visible platforms to spout their bigoted views, implicitly giving their supporters permission to indulge in their own — much to the dismay of many of their (former) friends and neighbors.
As powerful, middle-aged magicians, those on Team Voldemort were undeniably more powerful. That said, in all of the "Harry Potter" series, we meet, what, like, 12 dark wizards total? There's Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix, the other one, the really bad guy with the beard, Dolores Umbridge, the literally rat-faced Peter Pettigrew, and Snape every once in a while? That's pretty much it. Most Potter fans estimate the number of Death Eaters around for the Battle of Hogwarts at somewherebetween17 and 30.
Trump's rallies have already attracted tens of thousands, some of whom have assaulted protestors, laughed and smiled as he mocked a disabled reporter, and generally behaved extremely badly. They might not be as skilled with the killing curse, but words do real damage too. And Trump is running for public office. As powerful as he was, Voldemort was never even elected dog catcher.
Minor Advantage: Trump.
4. Hatred of Robert Pattinson.
When it comes to one of the absolutely essential markers of villainy — despising actor Robert Pattinson with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns — Trump doesn't even rate. In fact, it seems like he actually kind of loves the guy. He's even been known to give him free relationship advice on occasion:
Not only did Voldemort hate Robert Pattinson, he murdered him the first time they met.
Major Advantage: Voldemort.
5. Actually existing in real life.
While Voldemort had plenty of vile, pernicious ideas — up to and including outright genocide — his ability to do harm was limited by the fact that he was a fictional character who did not actually exist.
Donald Trump's worldview is less apocalyptic race war, more mundane, cynical bigotry. But — and this is really the key bullet point — there's a small but real chance he could actually be president of the United States in the not-too-distant future.
Major Advantage: Trump.
After reviewing the evidence, it's fairly clear that Voldemort remains ever-so-slightly worse than Donald Trump in theory. But Rowling is undoubtedly correct that Donald Trump — please excuse me — trumps that by being a real, live person whose harmful words are being broadcast to millions around the world.
Thankfully, Voldemort had one thing Trump doesn't, at least for the moment:
We Americans should probably err on the safe side and make sure we keep it that way.