The bizarre nature of the Donald Trump spectacle in 2016 has left scores of pundits baffled. How did we get to this point? How is it possible that an orange-tinted racist with no apparent grasp on the most basic political facts can get a weighted coin flip away from the White House? To better understand the inexplicable, pundits have routinely reached for comparisons: things we examine as a means of “understanding” Trump and wrapping our heads around his meteoric, unaccountable rise.
Alas, the vast majority of these attempts bore little intellectual fruit. As I’ve noted before, Trump comparisons are simply a lazy, topical way of indulging in unrelated ideological beefs—typically conflating socialism with fascism under the vague, centrist umbrella of “authoritarianism.” Other times, the comparisons were useful (those in the top five or so of this list I think are generally apt) and other times just goofy (Trump is an autoimmune disease or a Galaxy Note 7, because, why not?).
In the aggregate, the trend of comparing Trump to random things or people was a bad one and did far more to sow confusion and smuggle in the writer’s own preexisting hangups than pinpoint any helpful historical parallels.
Yet they were exceedingly popular. So here are 100 Trump comparisons in the media, ranked from most useful to dumbest.