Donald Trump has dominated news cycles for months, but perhaps the most apt description of the man came yesterday in a piece by The Federalist. Author James Poulos writes that cultural shifts, like the one that burst the “celebrity bubble” in the 90s, claim more than just the careers of actors, writers, and musicians. Politicians, too, he argues, can be crushed within sudden societal churning. That is why, he argues, we are now seeing the emergence of “the Deadpool of national politics” — Trump.
How is it that others, but not you, know Trump perfectly inhabits the form of leadership that naturally emerged from our cultural moment? Even deeper and broader than the issue of the GOP base becoming completely disenchanted in the established party leadership is the problem that so many Americans (who are not senior citizens) just have zero respect for old-style politicians.
Even a young guy who’s auditioning for the part of tomorrow’s old-style politician — Marco Rubio — just doesn’t pass the derisive laugh test among the most culturally consequential Americans, whatever their class. Trying to reduce this situation to class makes as much sense as trying to decide whether “Deadpool” is highbrow, lowbrow, or middlebrow.
There was a moment when expectations shifted about what it was to be a real human being in politics, too, and the only major figure to apparently intentionally catch that wave was Trump. He is the Deadpool of national politics. You can agonize over this fact or you can deal with it.
Think about it:
- Trump says whatever he wants — he’s completely unfiltered, like Deadpool. They both hate political correctness.
- When Trump is damaged — even by self-inflicted wounds — he heals incredibly fast, like Deadpool.
- Deadpool was created by unprincipled goons. Likewise, the creation of Trump in many ways hinges on the unprincipled goons of the Republican Party. They promised one thing, delivered another, and then laughed in the faces of those who expected them to live up to their word.
- Deadpool lets the audience in on “the joke” by breaking the fourth wall. Likewise, Trump exposes “the joke” that is Washington, D.C.’s political class (on the left and the right).
It appears, unfortunately, as though the Republican Party will not listen to Poulos’ advice, but instead will continue to “agonize” over Trump. Meanwhile, Democrats like President Obama continue on their quest to “fundamentally transform” America. It’s a recipe for disaster.
America needs a Colossus in the White House, but perhaps it deserves Deadpool at this point. If nothing else, perhaps real-world Deadpool (and, sadly, the body count his administration will be responsible for) will show people that politics isn’t a joke. Maybe then the next cultural shift will attract serious men and women to the nation’s capital. Or not, and America will usher in its own “Age of Mephisto.”