There’s a certain amusement to the fact President Donald Trump is being compared to one of the best Batman villains ever created. Twitter became astir on Friday at the idea Trump plagiarized the speech given by Bane in Dark Knight Rises. Here’s what Trump said:
“Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.”
Here’s what Bane said in DKR.
Pretty similar, except for the entire calling for an army to take back the city by force. But Trump’s comments are also similar to one Andrew Jackson made during his inaugural address in 1829.
The recent demonstration of public sentiment inscribes on the list of Executive duties, in characters too legible to be overlooked, the task of reform, which will require particularly the correction of those abuses that have brought the patronage of the Federal Government into conflict with the freedom of elections, and the counteraction of those causes which have disturbed the rightful course of appointment and have placed or continued power in unfaithful or incompetent hands.
In the performance of a task thus generally delineated I shall endeavor to select men whose diligence and talents will insure in their respective stations able and faithful cooperation, depending for the advancement of the public service more on the integrity and zeal of the public officers than on their numbers.
Reason’s Eric Boehm found a few other similarities between Trump and Jackson.
Jackson, like Trump, was a political novice when he ran for president and was very much outside the political establishment of the day. Like Trump, he campaigned against that establishment and had the good fortune of doing so at a moment in history when existing political alliance and battle-lines were being redrawn.
Against those fracturing political alliances, Jackson’s name-recognition and fame (he had been a general during the War of 1812 and was hailed as a hero of that conflict’s Battle of New Orleans) helped him stand out—in much the same way that Trump used his own name-recognition and fame to rise to the top of a deeply divided Republican Party.
On Friday, Trump bemoaned the loss of “trillions of dollars” rebuilding infrastructure in foreign countries and called for building of “new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.” Jackson, too, promised the then-expanding United States a program of “internal improvement and the diffusion of knowledge, so far as they can be promoted by the constitutional acts of the federal government.”
It’s more fun to compare Trump to a Batman villain because Dark Knight Rises did come out just over four years ago. But the comparison to Jackson is probably more appropriate. Trump’s speech can also be compared to one given by a certain Massachusetts Senator in 2012.
This victory belongs to you. You did this. You’ve done this for every family that’s been chipped at, squeezed, and hammered.
We’re going to fight for a level playing field and we’re going to put people back to work. That’s what we’re going to do.
To the small business owners who are tired of a rigged system against them, we’re going to hold the big guys accountable.
Of course, Elizabeth Warren is promising to stand firm on her values and to fight against Trump all she can. The amusing thing is Warren and Trump probably have more in common than they realize on spending issues and Social Security, even if they don’t agree on immigration and women’s issues (if you believe the protesters from yesterday, and not some of Ivanka Trump’s comments from the campaign).
This is the danger of populism. It tends to bring in more and more for the big government folks than it does for people who care more about freedom and liberty. Jackson did fight hard against the central bank, and it’s possible Trump will try to do the same (although I doubt it). It depends on if the GOP Congress will stand true to their own promises of freedom and liberty and smaller government (trust me, this probably won’t happen). These next four years are still going to be pretty interesting, to say the least.