Donald Trump’s bid for the White House and ascendancy in the polls has surprised many – but The Simpsons called it 15 years ago.
The cartoon foretold a Trump presidency in a surreal episode where Bart is given a window into the future – and found a country brought to its knees by financial mismanagement and a crime wave ushered in by The Donald.
In Bart to the Future, first aired in March 2000, a fortune teller gave Bart a glimpse of 2030 – just weeks after Trump vacated the White House.
Recipe for disaster? An episode dating back to 2000 predicted a future Trump presidency. The Donald is pictured above in a clip made after his campaign launch this year
Last, best hope: In the old Simpsons episode, Lisa Simpson is elected to succeed Trump in the White House – and inherits an unmanageable level of national debt
The episode’s alternate universe reveals that Trump, who will be 84 in 2030, left the country in an impossible amount of debt, and reliant on foreign aid from Europe and China.
This sorry state of affairs is the exact opposite of Trump’s current campaign promise to ‘Make America Great Again’, and stop ‘losing’ to other nations.
The recently-unearthed episode is the latest in a series of eerie Simpsons predictions, in which the show has foreseen the Arab Spring, the Ebola crisis and the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle.
In the episode’s vision of the future, America is also at the mercy of an army of genetically-enhanced thugs, brought about by Trump programs designed to help the nation’s youth which dramatically backfired.
Great Again? According to a graph by finance whizz Millhouse Van Houten, Trump’s administration brought the nation to financial ruin, and the ignominious position of accepting handouts from China
The only person who can save the shattered United States is none other than the newly-elected President Lisa Simpson.
Despite her lofty ambitions to ‘refill the oceans’ and build the world’s biggest book-mobile, her biggest task becomes rescuing the nation from its crippling debt.
An exchange from Lisa’s first cabinet meeting, meeting a balding Millhouse in charge of the nation’s finances, starts with a sobering financial summary.
Lisa says: ‘As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump. How bad is it, Secretary Van Houten?’
He holds up a graph showing a financial death-plunge and replies: ‘We’re broke’.
Up-to-date: The Simpsons has mocked Trump more recently, too. In a clip shown above, Homer gets sucked into his vortex-like hairdo
Lisa later asks whether there is any money to fund her campaign pledges – to which another official replies: ‘No. We borrowed from every country in the world.’
Lisa is later forced to announce an enormous tax hike in an attempt to right Trump’s wrongs, which kills her approval ratings.
It also does nothing to placate the nation’s creditors.
But the nation is eventually saved by Bart, a failed musician in the future vision, who uses his well-practiced ability dodging debt repayments to win the United States a reprieve.
As well as its prediction of Trump’s presidential ambitions, which he has entertained since at least the 1980s, The Simpsons has given The Donald its signature treatment more recently.
Not long after his controversial campaign launch, where he called Mexican immigrants ‘rapists’ and ‘drug dealers’, The Simpsons published a short video featuring Homer and Trump in close quarters.
In the video Homer was slipped $50 by a campaign official to cheer on Trump at the launch, riffing on real-life allegations that The Donald had paid for support.
However, overexcited fans shunted him right behind Trump as he made his way down an escalator – prompting Homer to get sucked inside his much-commented-upon hairdo, where he found other lost souls including Amelia Earhart.
As soon as he was expelled from Trump’s hair-vortex, Homer was collared by security guards and dumped back in Springfield.
THROUGH THE YELLOW CRYSTAL BALL: OTHER WORLD EVENTS ASTONISHINGLY PREDICTED BY THE SIMPSONS
A Trump presidential campaign will hardly be the first event The Simpsons apparently predicted from afar.
The show has called world events correctly before, in fields as diverse as politics, medicine and theoretical physics.
In 1997 an episode apparently predicted the Ebola outbreak in early 2015 which devastated West Africa.
Uncanny: In a 1997 episode of The Simpsons, the show’s creators appear to hint at the recent African Ebola epidemic
In the episode Lisa’s Sax, a sick Bart is given a book to read to keep him occupied at home. However, despite her intentions to soothe her son, Marge hands over a volume entitled Curious George and the Ebola Virus.
The cover features a sicken monkey – the animal which carries Ebola. Frames of the cover are followed moments later by Bart gesturing to a drawing of piled-up bodies.
A 1998 episode – The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace – got science buffs talking years later, when it emerged Homer Simpson had produced a decent approximation of a theory related to the Higgs-Boson ‘God particle’.
Genius? An episode from 1998 shows Homer Simpson producing an apparently functional approximation of a theory for the mass of a Higgs-Boson particle
One experienced particle physicist said that a complicated equation Homer scribbled on a chalkboard seemed to pre-empt the discovery by experts at CERN.
And Matt Groening’s gang also apparently foresaw the political downfall of Syria, brought about by the Arab Spring.
A 2001 Simpsons episode – New Kids on the Blecch, shows clips of a war in an unspecified Middle Eastern country.
Some of the U.S. enemies depicted in the show were using a jeep branded with a flag used by nobody at the time it was aired – but which more than a decade came to be used by a rebel group in Syria.
False flag? Conspiracy theorists flipped out over a 2001 episode of the Simpsons featuring the flag of a Syrian opposition group which did not exist until after the Arab Spring