The blonde American idol knows how to build a devoted audience, how to fill the biggest stadiums, and how to completely disrupt an entire industry. But to really understand that golden-haired phenom, to actually grasp the essence of Donald Trump, one needs to consider Taylor Swift.
The pop star and the politician have an unmistakable common denominator: They internalize, and they act on every single slight. Because of this shared impulse, Trump is now in danger of becoming the Taylor Swift of the American presidency. Seriously.
Just like Trump whips his base into a populist frenzy, Swift has used her martyrdom to go multi-platinum. For those not familiar with the pop star, her entire discography relies on melodrama. Feuding with Katy Perry created "Bad Blood," breaking up with a bunch of boyfriends led to "Blank Spaces," and quarrelling with Kanye West … well, that made Taylor famous.
Swift never shakes it all off though. She welcomes the fakers and the heartbreakers and the haters. It's all she knows. Trump does the exact same thing, albeit with less fashionable backup dancers and with Paul Ryan as a foil instead of Katy Perry.
When the president tires of complaining about the unfair media, he belittles what he considers an incredibly inept GOP conference. Never mind that Trump stayed on the sidelines for most of the big policy debates. Forget that he has managed to stir up scandal all on his own. Anything that has gone wrong is everyone else's fault.
That's the chorus of the track Trump has been playing on repeat since he came into office. Catchy at first, it's quickly getting old.
At this point, Swift devotees and bespectacled political analysts with bowties will object. The Trump-Swift comparison isn't fair, the Swifties will argue and it's not serious, the talking heads will add. But who cares? After 2016, everything has changed. To know Washington better, to know politics better, to know Trump better now, it's time to consider pop-politik.
Art imitates life sometimes, and occasionally the president of the United States imitates a whiny popstar who has turned victimhood into a currency. Dripping self-pity over heavy synth, the new Swift single marks her transition from an outside pop country music star into a vengeful Diva. It also explains Trump's pivot left perfectly. Stay with me.
Traditional analysis can't really unravel why a president with control of both chambers of Congress would abandon his party. Conventional wisdom can't comprehend why the president didn't cut a better deal on the debt-ceiling. But pop-politik can. More than anything, the Pelosi-Schumer-Trump package was a perfect "look what you made me do" moment. (Press play).
Everything has been disappointing for Trump since he came into office. He didn't like the little games. He didn't like the tilted stages. And he especially didn't like the fight over Obamacare repeal that required a detailed understanding of insurance markets and Senate procedure. Those problems, in the president's estimation, are the product of inept allies who squandered the early days of his presidency.
So, Trump turned to his list of enemies and saw that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan were in red, underlined. And as the two most powerful men in Congress sat on those ugly beige couches in the Oval Office, he checked them off once, then checked them off twice.
Thanks in large part to the diva president, Republicans will end 2017 having increased the size of government, boosted federal spending, and probably passing some sort of amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants. From now on, he's going to be working with Democrats. Rash and dramatic, it's what the establishment made him do.
"I'm sorry, the old GOP can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, cause they're dead!"
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.