Trump Air Force One Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

Faster than a Speeding Congressman

Until a few decades ago, democratic leaders had to climb the electoral ladder, rung by rung, acquiring along the way a facility for retail politics, stump speaking, and the demands of assembling a working majority. Today's leaders often rocket to the top – and frequently crash just as fast.

LONDON – It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Supra-politician. But, unlike a cartoon hero, when Supra-politician arrives in power, he or she probably won’t save the day.

The emergence of such leaders is a relatively new phenomenon, one that is reshaping politics across the West. Today, two largely dissimilar presidents, Emmanuel Macron in France and Donald Trump in the United States, are its leading avatars.

Until a few decades ago, democratic leaders had to climb the electoral ladder, rung by rung, acquiring along the way a facility for retail politics, stump speaking, and the demands of assembling a working majority. In the US, that meant that virtually all presidents had either served in Congress or as state governors, with the only modern exception being Dwight Eisenhower, whose background as an Army general stood in for political experience.

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