The Top 100 Trump Comparisons the Media Made This Election, Some Accurate and Most Off-the-Wall

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.

  1. The United States of America, Al Jazeera / Salon / Jacobin

  2. Pat Buchanan, Politico

  3. George Wallace, NPR / Daily Beast / National Review / NY Magazine / Rachel Maddow / HuffPo

  4. Silvio Berlusconi, CNN / NYTimes / Newsday / The Intercept / Washington Post / Politico

  5. Andrew Jackson, NYTimes

  6. P.T. Barnum, TruthOut / Daily Kos

  7. Benito Mussolini, The Atlantic / John Yoo / Salon / IBT / Washington Post / Larry Flynt

  8. Adolf Hitler, NY Magazine / Daily Beast / Ken Burns

  9. A tapeworm, Sarah Ruhl

  10. Richard Nixon, The Guardian / Daily Beast

  11. Biff Tannen, Writer of Back to the Future / The Verge

  12. Marine Le Pen, QZ

  13. Narendra Modi, CNN

  14. A chimpanzee, Jane Goodall

  15. Brexit, Mashable / The Economist / WaPo / Samantha Bee

  16. Norse God Loki, The Baffler

  17. Pinochet, Politico

  18. Rodrigo Duterte, Time / CNN / Vox / John Oliver

  19. Ross Perot, National Review

  20. Napoleon, HuffPo

  21. Napoleon from Animal Farm, GQ / IJR

  22. Francisco Franco, Paste Magazine

  23. Andrew Dice Clay, Bill Maher

  24. Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan HuffPo / The Hill / The Guardian

  25. Steve Jobs CIO

  26. Getúlio Vargas, Político / Washington Times

  27. Boris Johnson, Fortune

  28. Hillary Clinton, CNN

  29. Caligula, The Guardian / Counterpunch

  30. Vladimir Putin, Financial Times / Buzzfeed / Daily Beast

  31. The Hulk, Trevor Noah

  32. Nicolas Sarkozy, National Post / Le Figaro

  33. Nero, Daily Beast

  34. Lewis C. Levin, Narrative ly

  35. Pol Pot, WaPo

  36. Barack Obama, National Review

  37. Joseph Goebbels, Daily Beast / RedState / Daily Kos

  38. Saddam Hussein, Vanity Fair

  39. Juan Peron Normon Ornstein

  40. Ceausescu Daniel Negreanu / The Diplomat

  41. The devil, HuffPo

  42. A stock that's bottomed out, CNBC

  43. An African dictator, Daily Show

  44. Huey Long, George Will

  45. Rasputin, David Brooks

  46. Jim Jones, GQ

  47. Bashar al-Assad, Daily Beast

  48. Groucho Marx, Reuters

  49. Euron Greyjoy, Vice / Salon

  50. Tory leadership hopefuls Tony Clement and Kellie Leitch, The Globe and Mail

  51. Joseph Stalin, Daily News / NY Magazine / Daily Beast

  52. Shakespeare's Richard III, NYTimes

  53. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Daily Beast / Boing Boing / CBS News

  54. Slobodan Milosevic, USA Today

  55. Kim Jong-Il, NY Magazine / Slate

  56. Robert Mugabe, Chris Coons

  57. Gene Simmons, Toronto Sun

  58. Zachary Taylor, Politico

  59. Ramsay Bolton, Inverse

  60. Ebola, Bill Maher

  61. Bill Cosby, Trevor Noah

  62. Neville Chamberlain, HuffPo / WaPo

  63. Justin Trudeau, Bloomberg

  64. A Chinese communist, Foreign Policy / Time / WSJ

  65. Planet Earth, Seth Meyers

  66. King George III, Salon

  67. The Marlboro Man, Mark Cuban

  68. Lord Voldemort, BBC

  69. Darth Vader, Daily Show / The Guardian

  70. Kim Jong Un, Arianna Huffington

  71. Marion Barry, Washington Post

  72. Mao Zedong, New Yorker

  73. An autoimmune disease, The Guardian

  74. A Manchurian candidate, Salon / CNBC

  75. Batman vs Superman, Variety

  76. Muammar Gaddafi, Middle East Eye

  77. A hurricane, WaPo

  78. L. Ron Hubbard, Daily Beast

  79. Saparmurat Niyazov, The Diplomat

  80. Che Guevara, Bill Maher

  81. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, WaPo / The Guardian / Cairo Review

  82. A Marvel supervillain, Marvel

  83. A Latin American strongman, Politico / Slate / McClatchy / Financial Times / Miami Herald

  84. Ayatollah Khomeini, Daily Beast

  85. John F. Kennedy, Andy Puzder

  86. A Navy Seal, Fox News

  87. Fidel Castro, Van Jones

  88. Nicolas Maduro, Jorge Ramos / Fusion

  89. Moqtada al-Sadr, Daily Beast

  90. Joe McCarthy, The New Yorker

  91. Karl Marx, The Conversation

  92. Donald Trump, CNN

  93. A Galaxy Note 7, The Times of India

  94. The white Cornel West, Joy Ann Reid

  95. Zika virus, Ana Navarro

  96. Benjamin Disraeli, First Things

  97. Hugo Chavez, NYTimes / Politico / Univision / Reuters / The Guardian

  98. Jeremy Corbyn, HuffPo / The Telegraph / The Mirror / Daily Beast / Guardian / Etc. etc.

  99. German philosopher Martin Heidegger, London Review of Books

  100. Bernie Sanders, NPR / Daily Beast / The Guardian / The Atlantic / HuffPo / Bustle

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