Donald Trump's bid for the presidency has electrified the country. The man is inescapable; it's a bit like watching a comic book villain come to life and take over the airwaves all before announcing his plan to poison the nation's water supply. Unfortunately, he has some of us fooled. On Saturday, an impressionable nine-year-old asked if he's Batman. Candidate Trump confirmed that he is, in fact, the Dark Knight.
This is a lie. Donald Trump is no Caped Crusader. He's much more like a pale clone of Lex Luthor than anything else.
Impressionable Youth: Mr. Trump!
Donald Trump: Yes!
Impressionable Youth: Are you Batman?
Donald Trump: *probably his best Christian Bale impression* I am Batman!
Let's push through the cuteness and break this down. First of all, having a private helicopter doesn't make you Batman, expert detective and trained martial artist who beats supervillains to a bloody pulp. That's insane, and no one should ever think this. But most importantly, the out-of-costume, mostly apolitical Bruce Wayne outwardly supports the kind of progressive activity — like providing for the poor — that Trump has been inconsistent on over the last 20 years. And there's proof to back up his willingness to give:
This isn't Conservative Republican Donald Trump's modus operandi. There's actually scant evidence of his own charitable giving, even if he's still arguably more progressive than his opponents. But while he may not always be in the average American's corner, he'll always come out swinging against his own attackers:
Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure,it's not your fault— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2013
As far as comic book characters go, saying Donald Trump is like Lex Luthor is a much more germane statement. I mean, there's already the unbridled narcissism, but there's also the fact that Luthor won the presidency in 2000. He also loves lording his intellect over others. But even this doesn't quite wash. Lex is one of Superman's most dogged foes. He's an ordinary mortal who can tussle with gods. And he's a genuine threat. In one storyline, running for president was all just a masterful ploy to tick Superman off, all so Superman would start making sloppy mistakes. And it almost worked.
Trump hasn't ever shown this level of forethought. (And he certainly hasn't shown off any superpowers.) Even more problematic is all the faulty branding. He isn't a self-made man like Luthor, but came from money. He isn't an unscrupulous industrialist and scientist, but an unscrupulous real estate magnate.
Welcome to Bizarro World
In truth, Trump has a lot more in common with Bizarro Lex Luthor than with anyone. Bizarro Luthor is no genius, is mostly incoherent, but can still command people's attention. Sounds like a recipe for a reality TV show, doesn't it? It just fits. After all, where bankruptcy ruined Lex Luthor, filing for Chapter 11 is a win in Trump's playbook. But how else would you describe Trump's outrageous stance on immigration while insisting he can win over Hispanic voters? Or his ad hominem attacks on Megyn Kelly alongside his so-called love for all women? Instead of using sheer intellect, Trump is stumbling his way to the Republican nomination, thanks to gaffes that somehow still appeal to America's basest sensibilities.
There can be only one reason for this, and for why Trump is leading the entire Republican field in the polls right now. We're actually all in Bizarro World. Don't worry, we're working on the portal back to home.