The hard-left magazine Jacobin makes no secret of its love for Bernie Sanders, who rarely (if ever) is criticized in the journal's pages. In fact, they dig the socialist Vermont senator so much they've made a poster of him straight out of Mussolini's cult-of personality playbook (Il Duce staged bare-chested photos of himself threshing wheat and skiing the Alps, among other things).
Does it matter that the 78-year-old millionaire recently had a heart attack and is one of the least athletic-looking figures in national politics? Not to the Bernie Bros at Jacobin. The cover is graced by a stylized image that is reminiscent of the art deco (a style in vogue internationally during the reign of Mussolini) and figures "Bernie and the Squad" as cyclists about to blow by Sleepy Joe Biden and Goofy Elizabeth Warren.
Bernie's domestiques (hey, why are women doing all the support legwork?) consist of, from left to right, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib (I assume that the fourth member of AOC's squad, Ayanna Pressley, was dropped from the illo because she has officially endorsed fellow Massachusetts resident Warren for president). Showing some serious entrepreneurial chops, Jacobin is selling poster-size reprints of the cover for just $14.95, plus shipping and handling. They've only made 200 copies, so get yours now.
Of course, it's not just progressives who fetishize their strongmen. Jon McNaughton, whose website describes him as "an established artist from Utah whose new paintings have attracted the international attention of millions over the last few years," makes a living selling paintings of Donald Trump that walk the line between ultra-earnest kitsch and winking self-parody as expertly as Philippe Petit danced between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers back in 1974. McNaughton is nothing if not prolific and it's hard to choose a single image to represent the way he depicts Trump as superhuman. In one painting, for instance, Trump is roughing up former FBI head Robert Mueller. In "MAGA Ride," the president is riding a red-white-and-blue chopper with First Lady Melania Trump along for the ride like any other biker chick.
His most recent work on the Trump theme is "2020 Ride" and shows Trump taming a bull that represents…the American people (that would be weird, wouldn't it)? His Democratic opponents (whom McNaughton shows cheating at cards in "Democrats Playing Poker")? Who knows? In keeping with the sports motif of the Jacobin cover, here's a McNaughton piece from the summer:
— Jon McNaughton (@McNaughtonArt) July 15, 2019
If you're interested, McNaughton provides a key to the hapless players Trump is running through like they're the 0-10 Cincinnati Bengals:
Goal line: President Trump, Closest to Trump: Cory Booker, Three on the ground: Bill de Blasio, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Next row of four: Bernie Sanders, Richard Blumenthal, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Referee and three blue players in the back: Not telling!
If we've learned anything over the past 20 or so years, it's that politics is capable of destroying everything it touches. When it comes to the most ardent supporters of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, it shouldn't be surprising that politics completely shreds their artistic judgement.