Deadpool Ryan Reynolds

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.

Poulos writes:

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.”

 

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

13 comments

  1. It’s a bit grim, isn’t it? Our favored candidates really speak to what is wrong within the hearts of this nation. It’s astounding to me that so few see it, that some are so enamored with the idea of sticking it to the man, the establishment, that they seem to have forgotten we are the establishment. Also ironic, Trump, Sanders, doesn’t matter, that desire to overpower the system and throw the old guard out is what is motivating both sides. Do we know what we’re replacing “it” with? Who cares, we’re just going to do it!

  2. “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.”

    — I’ve said similar things to conservatives & GOP even as I’m not backing anyone in the primaries. They scream at me that I’m supporting Trump or that people are stupid for not supporting a “true conservative.” —

    “It appears, unfortunately, as though the Republican Party will not listen to Poulos’ advise, 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.'”

    — I think I pretty much agree with that. —

    1. “I’ve said similar things to conservatives & GOP even as I’m not backing anyone in the primaries. They scream at me that I’m supporting Trump or that people are stupid for not supporting a ‘true conservative.'”

      I just don’t like this season because of the way Republicans demonize other Republicans. It’s weird to me to take some guy who I agree with 90 percent of the time and turn him into some kind nut, idiot, etc.

    2. I understand what you’re saying about the primary season and the blue-on-blue attacks, so to speak. On the other hand, the hostility is exposing the true character of many people. It’s serving as a fire that is burning away the chaff and bringing about much needed upheaval.

      ** BUT ** I am largely staying out of the fights at this point. I left the GOP a long time ago (because it left me) so I can’t vote in the primaries anyway. So I think (and you can correct me if I’m wrong) I’m largely doing what you’re doing (not joining the attacks) plus I’ve become much more of a spectator (and analyst) of what is happening.

      Bottom line: Good post, Doug.

  3. I discuss politics often, and over the years have become more libertarian…not because the philosophy is attractive or hip, or because free drugs, open borders and legal prostitution are good ideas…it’s because the inherent culture of the nation needs to be free of artificial laws and regulations to flourish. As illogical as it may seem, we became a strong nation before any of the attempts to harness Americans into some kind of unified force for ‘good’ at government gunpoint.

    We are told now that most of the people who came west and settled the country spent most of that time murdering Native Americans…but that’s not true. They packed their things and bravely moved into the wilderness with their families and little support. Little law, too, just the community volunteer and a will to succeed. No, these were not always good people, but in the aggregate, they formed the core of a great nation. Sadly even generations of minorities have forgotten why they came here…oppression at home, where the wrong thought or the wrong friends can mean a ruined life, where your personal industriousness is stolen for others.

    I’ve come to believe that our obsession with the ‘right’ president and the ‘right’ leaders is actually part of the problem, a sign that we still look to others to fix our communities, to bring us prosperity. To me a good america is one where who is president doesn’t matter. I do however recognize that this presidency and the one we are likely to get has changed that terribly.

    America’s greatest moments and achievements have rarely had a president involved. In fact we have been at our best when we are at our most free. A friend asked me what great things we could have achieved had we not aborted a whole generation…I replied that I can’t even get past how even those who make it cannot afford to save, improve or innovate without borrowing massive sums of money…or getting in first on the latest innovation before it’s taxed and regulated into unaffordability.

    1. “I’ve come to believe that our obsession with the ‘right’ president and the ‘right’ leaders is actually part of the problem, a sign that we still look to others to fix our communities, to bring us prosperity. To me a good america is one where who is president doesn’t matter.”

      The left put all of its faith in Obama and was let down. He was supposed to be “The Chosen One,” and now they’re going for the guy who is openly a socialist. (How many years until they decide full-out communism is the answer?) Now the hard right wants its own Obama, and Trump is the closest thing to that. They too would be let down if he were elected president. Then what? I shudder to think…

      I’m not sure why so many people still seem to think one man is the answer to all their problems. Trump is not going to “Make America Great Again” because the problem with America is cultural. The people voting for him think that a different guy pulling the levers of the “administrative state machine” will make a difference. I don’t even have the energy to laugh at the idea anymore. Or cry. I’m just exhausted.

  4. Trump’s popularity is a sign of how fed up a lot of people are with business-as-usual politics. Whether he is for real, or whether he is a limousine liberal Trojan Horse, he is saying things that working class/middle class taxpayers want to hear. And, in particular, he is providing an alternative to the traditional Republicans, who generally try to present themselves as the father in a 1950’s TV sitcom. A lot of conservatives (and centrists, for that matter) are tired of the GOP’s roll-over-and-play-dead-for-the-Democrats policy. There is a growing desire for No More Mr. Nice Guy.

    A lot of liberals are chanting the “Trump can’t win, he is too obnoxious and extreme” mantra, apparently hoping that they can make it come true by repeating it over and over.

    In the late 1970’s, a lot of Republicans feared that Reagan was too extreme to win a general election. He eventually proved them wrong. Twice. Admittedly, he benefited from a backlash against the malaise of the Carter administration (just as a backlash against Pat Brown got him elected governor of California). But then, there is a growing backlash now against political correctness and dhimmitude.

    Since 1988, the GOP has always nominated the moderate candidate who presumably had the broadest appeal. And they have lost four out of the past seven presidential elections. Five, considering that Bush won the electoral vote, but lost the popular vote, in 2000.

    BTW, I have trouble keeping it straight as to which one is Deadpool, Deathstroke, Deadshot, or Deathlok. 🙂

    1. “A lot of conservatives (and centrists, for that matter) are tired of the GOP’s roll-over-and-play-dead-for-the-Democrats policy. There is a growing desire for No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

      McCain and Romney both tried to do this weird thing where they refused to hit back after unscrupulous attacks on their character. They were getting hit with brass knuckles, and the response was, “Come on, guys. Hey now. Knock it off, will ya? Golly, gee whiz. That’s not on the up-and-up. No, sir. Not one bit.”

  5. Yes, our culture has transitioned, quite simply from DIY to DIFM (a real term, by the way, in the auto parts industry, though in that case not a pejorative), and Barack Obama and his mentors capitalized on this sad devolution in two presidential elections. I wrote about this in 2013, DIY vs Obama’s anti-American “You didn’t build that” speech, amazing from the mouth of a U.S. president. https://sasoc.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/i-made-that-obamas-you-didnt-build-that-and-the-death-of-diy/

    I am a Cruz supporter because he is literally the only candidate in the field whose policy positions are consistently of a limited-government / limited interventionist nature.

    I love Trump for the simple fact that he is not afraid to “say anything”, and in particular this throws Hillary and Bill Clinton off their game (not to mention Vicente Fox, who has already come unglued). Had Romney employed even 10% of what Trump has in this regard, he would have easily defeated the man who broke health care while Rome still burned.

    But Trump is no Conservative — he will likely prove to be a central-power wielder like the rest of them, though at least he will defend our borders

    1. As you wrote in the blog post: “The era of soul-crushing bureaucracy has returned in force, which of course is the natural order of things, as any survey of human history will attest, and which Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan saved us from for a few shining centuries.”

      I read this and then I think of just how little history kids are actually taught in public schools. Readers can read between the lines…

      The American Experiment is in many ways a historical outlier. It’s too bad more people don’t understand that.

  6. “Outlier” is right, so rare and so beautiful. So many things came together at the Founding, including a physical geography and some political alliances that allowed our fledging nation to grow in the first 100 years.

    I once read a history of Russia, and there was a chapter on the Kievan State that included a beautiful story of a liberty bell in the town square, that would ring when legislative matters required the citizens to assemble and rule.

    Decentralization of power has made some rare appearances over the millennia, but it goes against the grain of the darker forces within us all and so remains exceptional.

    It is some consolation that the Obama-types are not special at all — they are the lowest common denominator of would-be tyrants, a dime a dozen. SHAME!

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