Trump Isn’t Batman; He’s the Green Lantern!

Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons

I’ll add onto Nancy LeTourneau’s earlier post this morning about the hallucinatory quality of Donald Trump’s appeal to a certain kind of voter by quoting from a National Journal piece by Lauren Fox that nicely identifies the source of much of the Republican frustration with their congressional leaders that Trump’s tapping into:

Trump is the perfect candidate for conservative voters who have been disappointed and disillusioned by the Republican Congress they elected in 2014; a Congress that has been forced to reconcile policy aspirations with a Democratic president. A Pew Research poll in July found that Republicans’ support of their party had dropped 18 points in six months. Trump doesn’t have to operate in reality. He is playing on a political plane all alone.

His support is sort of a mirror image of the “Green Lantern” theory of the presidency: the expectation to which Barack Obama has been so often exposed that a president can magically wish away obstacles to his policies in Congress or other avenues of objective reality if he or she just has the willpower to do it.

Because Trump refuses to acknowledge any serious limitations on what he could do as president, he’s free to say things like he’ll find a way to deport eleven million people overnight without turning the country into a police state, or come up with a health reform plan that makes everybody happy, or make a sluggish economy boom, or somehow convince other countries to undermine their own national interests in negotiations with the United States.

I will note without elaboration that frustration with the gridlock and contentiousness associated with parliamentary democracy was a significant contributor to the rise of authoritarian movements in the last century–typically led by men in uniform.

You may recall that Donald Trump jokingly told a child at the Iowa State Fair last week that “I am Batman.” Maybe he’s actually the Green Lantern.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.