The real explanation is much simpler and more believable: When Parscale and his ilk approvingly identify themselves with pre-redemption Darth Vader, or Thanos, or even Dr. Evil, they surely understand those characters’ morality perfectly well. It’s not so much that Trump, et. al actively identify as “villains,” but that the behavior that makes one a “villain” in fiction—deceit, wanton rule-breaking, a willful disregard for collateral damage—is, in real life, more likely to get one branded a “winner,” provided one plays their cards right. Enron executives? Elizabeth Holmes? The steroid-juicing baseball heroes of the 1990s? Winners all—at least until they got caught.

Through that lens, everything from the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn post-guilty plea, to the president’s continued enrichment from his various hotels and business entities (to much worse) is as justifiable as the destruction of Alderaan. Rule-bound critics across the ideological spectrum can cry and moan as much as they want; the Trump administration has the power, is #winning and will do as it pleases, until they’re similarly caught red-handed. (To the extent that remains a possibility—the insulation from accountability provided by such magnificent power as the presidency is, of course, one of its most enjoyable perks.)