Lesser Evils: Supervillain Presidencies as Rated in Units of Trump

Cons: repeated flip-flops with regard to exterminating the human race, mixed record as leader of the mutant nation Genosha, hangs out with a weird little Toad-man
Pros: First Jewish president, might be the only force capable of fixing America’s gun problem, dashing purple cape
Rating: 0.5 Trumps. Magneto has exhibited a murderous streak at times, but he’s also demonstrated a willingness to work across the aisle and cooperate with the X-men to take down greater threats such as the mutant pharaoh Apocalypse and Ted Cruz.
The Penguin
Cons: Extensive ties to organized crime and Tim Burton, raw fish breath is off-putting to other heads of state,
Pros: Executive experience in his role as mayor of Gotham, accomplished negotiator, classy dresser
Rating: 0.4 Trumps. As a craven one-percenter with an unhealthy fixation on his weird hands, The Penguin shares many of Trump’s insecurities. On the other hand, he’s much more likely to take aggressive action against climate change in order to preserve his supply of exotic birds.
Cons: Rocky relations with Dimension X, aggressively interventionist approach to interdimensional relations, running mate is some kind of obese mute robot in a speedo
Pros: genius-level intellect, hypnosis powers could benefit international diplomacy, owns a badass technodrome
Rating: 0.7 Trumps. A Krang presidency would arguably be pretty good for America, but disastrous for the cosmos. As an evil brain in a robot body, Krang outpowers Trump in both intellect and physical prowess. He’s likely to transform the country into an interdimensional super power, but there’s going to be at least a couple alien genocides in the process.
Cons: Venom addiction can lead to erratic behavior, gives undue access to lobbyists from the League of Shadows, tiny American flag pins cannot penetrate his rippling pectorals
Pros: classic Jesuit education, rags-to-riches background, capable of out-wrestling Vladimir Putin
Rating: 0.15 Trumps. As a drug-addicted authoritarian with a propensity for violence, Bane falls well within the political norm. As president he’d be one of the great showmen of American history, and while breaking the backs of one’s political rivals makes for a bad democracy, it makes for great television.
The Red Skull:
Cons: Sworn enemy of America, Literal Nazi, lipless visage makes his ‘b’s sound weird, alt-right followers responsible for some truly disgusting red Pepes
Pros: Uh… Nah.
Rating: 1.25 Trumps. While the Red Skull has demonstrated greater restraint with Weapons of Mass Destruction than Trump is likely to, he was also the direct protege of Adolf Hitler. This is the kind of guy who lives in a place called The Skull House.
Image Attributions:
Art from Uncanny X-Men Vol 4 #5, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Nolan Woodard
Art from the Batman: The Killing Joke Deluxe Edition, by Brian Bolland
Screenshot Teenage Mutant Turts (1987 Series)
Art from Batman #497 by Jim Aparo
Art from Uncanny Avengers #1 by John Cassaday

Trump in Three Monsters

Monsters are a key element of our cultural digestive system. They are abnormalities, and through that abnormality they encapsulate some unpleasant truth. The terror of the Boogeyman is that he was always inside the house, waiting to blow open the door. So it is that we create Boogeymen to substitute whatever punishment- deliberate or subconscious- the parents will enact if the child falls out of line. Sometimes an outrageous monster saunters into reality fully formed. The task then is to name them. Having so sauntered, Donald Trump has been named for many monsters, each providing a lens through which to examine him.

Late in the primaries, Alexander Burns with the New York Times began to compare Trump’s continued candidacy to a sort of zombie attacking the GOP: damaged, but unstoppable. In his Zombie Aspect, Trump springs a demographic trap the Republicans have been sliding into for years, namely the fact that the structure of their primary elections selects for untenable candidates. Like FrankenTrump, Zombie-Trump serves as an undead corpse provoking an existential crisis within the GOP.

Comparisons between Trump and Frankenstein’s monster have been numerous and high profile, including Robert Kagan at Washington Post and David Corn at Mother Jones. Most of these writers invoke the Frankenstein comparison to castigate the mainstream Republican party, whose relationship with Trump can be described as complicated at best. Trump is used as an example of the rot that has lurked in the GOP all this time. Just as Frankenstein’s monster reveals the shortcomings of his creator in gruesome spectacle, so too does Trump represent the logical conclusion of the modern Republican party’s policies of xenophobia, warmongering and predatory capitalism.

One last monstrous point of view on Trump casts him only indirectly, as it lets us see the candidate’s monstrosity through the effect he has on a personal level. Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg described Chris Christie as Trump’s “Renfield,” making Trump Dracula by extension. Renfield is himself a monstrous, but piteous figure. He’s sucked into the Count’s orbit, his latent depravity leveraged to place him in the bigger monster’s service. Likewise, Trump has reduced the once-blustering Jersey Governor to fetching coffee and backing his candidacy. Perhaps Christie will have an intrusion of conscience like Renfield did; perhaps he’ll keep eating Trump’s rats.

Throughout these different versions of the monster Trump, one theme seems clear: in his aberration, Trump reveals the underlying taint of that which he is aberrant from. On a personal level, he forces acquaintances to debase themselves with the sadistic instinct of Dracula. As an “outsider” within the Republican party, he’s the voice of unfiltered racism the establishment thought they had sublimated. Perhaps what’s most haunting about Trump is how perfectly the character of the monster is suited to the medium of democracy. If the monster’s job is to reveal a truth about ourselves, how much more effectively can he work in a system where his approval is atomized and tabulated?