Murphy’s Law – A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Hannibal Lecter (and that’s a good thing)

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

Finally, mercifully, the 2016 presidential election is winding down. This past Monday, we had the first debate between the two major candidates (which, depending on your political leanings, was either a clear victory for Hillary Clinton or just another example of the vast liberal conspiracy to prevent Donald Trump from getting elected). There’s two more of those scheduled, along with a debate between the two vice presidential candidates, which I would imagine will only be watched by relatives of Mike Pence and Tim Kaine.

While most people at this point have chosen which candidate they are voting for, these debates are set up to help “undecided” voters make up their mind. I’m always a bit baffled that someone could be undecided this far in, but this year I have noticed an increasing number of my friends on social media embracing the “They’re both awful; I don’t want to vote for either one of them” mentality.

More intelligent people than I have tried to chip away at that notion. In fact, I think the clip below from Last Week Tonight does an excellent job of showing that, while both candidates have several unsavory scandals surrounding them, to pretend those scandals are equal is absurd:

But even with the Last Week Tonight piece and others making similar cases, I thought I would make my own attempt at explaining the difference between the two candidates. I may not have the amazing research department that John Oliver has, but I do have a passion for and a deep knowledge of pop culture. And it was in thinking about the film The Silence of the Lambs that I was ultimately able to accept my decision to vote for Hillary Clinton.

I was a passionate Bernie Sanders supporter during the primary. This metaphor helped me accept letting Sanders go and embracing Clinton. I’m hoping it might help some of the other Bernie Sanders fans or otherwise disenfranchised voters come to term with it too.

In case you need a quick refresher – The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 film (based on a novel) that tells the story of Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), a promising FBI trainee who is assigned to interview Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a former psychiatrist turned cannibal serial killer who is incarcerated inside the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Lecter offers to help Clarice catch another serial killer who is currently at large – Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine).

Lecter insists that their arrangement be “quid pro quo.” He can help her capture Buffalo Bill, but only if she’s willing to answer the personal questions he asks her. She reluctantly obliges and, eventually, he gives her the information she needs to track down Buffalo Bill and rescue the daughter of a U.S. Senator that Bill has imprisoned at the bottom of a well.

Now, let’s pretend that this year’s election is the film Silence of the Lambs. And you, the voter, are Clarice Starling. Clarice’s task was to rescue the senator’s daughter; yours is to find someone to run the country. For the purposes of this metaphor, Hillary Clinton is Hannibal Lecter. She’s a bit unsavory and is going to ask you to give up more than you want to in order to get the job done. But she’s intelligent and highly qualified for the task at hand and will ultimately deliver the results you need.

Sure, in the end, she’s probably going to eat some poor guy’s face in order to escape from police custody. And she’ll likely follow that up with a taunting phone call where she gloats about “having an older friend for dinner.” But the senator’s daughter will be safe. (To help you keep up with the metaphor – “eat some poor guy’s face” is a metaphor for whatever email server, Benghazi, questionable charity donation scandal you think she’s going to pull off while in office. And “the senator’s daughter” is America.)

She may not be the candidate we want. There are other people out there we’d rather see fill that role. But the clock is ticking and she’s our only option left. It’s either her or Trump. They are the only viable options.

“Who is Trump in this metaphor?” you may be asking. Well, there is a character in The Silence of the Lambs who represents him. He’s a fellow inmate in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Like Lecter, he’s an unsavory character with a dark past. I’m talking, of course, about Multiple Miggs.

When Clarice goes to interview Lecter, Migg says an incredibly crude sexual comment at her. Then he hurls a handful of semen at her. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better analogy for a Donald Trump presidency.

So yes, both Clinton and Trump have their faults. Perhaps neither one of them is your first choice to be president. But if you ever want to get the lambs to stop screaming and to keep America from metaphorically becoming a suit made of human skin, it’s time for a little quid pro quo.


Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at

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