It turns out that Divergent isn't just the top movie in America. It's also playing out in the run-up to the 2016 presidential race, with Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, in the starring role.
Based on the first volume of a wildly popular young-adult trilogy, Divergent is set in America of the near-future, when all people are irrevocably slotted into one of five "factions" based on temperament and personality type. Those who refuse to go along with the program are marked as divergent—and marked for death! "What Makes You Different, Makes You Dangerous,"reads one of the story's taglines.
Which pretty much sums up Rand Paul, whose libertarian-leaning politics are gaining adherents among the plurality of Americans fed up with bible-thumping, war-happy, budget-busting Republicans and promise-breaking, drone-dispatching, budget-busting Democrats. Professional cheerleaders for Team Red and Team Blue—also known as journalists—aren't calling for Paul's literal dispatching, but they are rushing to explain exactly why the opthalmologist has no future in politics.
That's from my latest Daily Beast column, which explores why everyone—from liberals at New York to conservatives at National Review—are rushing to explain why the rising junior senator from Kentucky and his brand of libertarian-leaning ideas can't possibly be as popular as they are.
Whether or not [Paul] actually wins the Republican nomination, much less the White House[in 2016], is besides the point. The question is whether the politics of the future will be the same as the politics of the present.