In the opening moments of tonight's series premiere of Powerless, the DC Comics comedy revealed that the so-called "Earth-P" on which they reside has recently elected Lex Luthor as President of the United States.
During Emily's commute to work, there's a man on the train reading a newspaper where the front page headline says that "President-Elect Luthor Vows to Make Metropolis Super Again," firmly establishing that this doesn't take place in the same continuity as either the movies (where Lex is in jail), Supergirl (ditto, jail -- also the President is a woman played by Lynda Carter), or Earth-1, where DC's Legends of Tomorrow recently introduced a female President after the previous President was killed during "Invasion!"
It's also a wink and a nod not just to a well-known story from the comics but to a real-world phenomenon, which is that Luthor and Trump have been connected for years.
In the comics, Lex Luthor was elected President in 2000. The storyline played out over the course of a couple of years before he was finally taken down in the first arc of Superman/Batman.
...And, of course, since writers have said for years that "businessman Lex" of the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths era was heavily influenced by Donald Trump, it's no surprise that when Trump started his bid for President, all the Lex Luthor for President material started to take on a new meaning.
The idea wasn't that Trump was evil as much as that he was extremely wealthy and had a larger-than-life public persona where he liked to position himself as in a class by himself. That's how Lex was reinvented in the post-Crisis. Whether John Byrne intended it that way or not isn't clear, but in past interviews, writers who worked on the Superman titles shortly after Byrne have said that they had Trump in mind as a template when writing some (not all) Lex stories.
This is compounded by the fact that years before "President Lex" was a thing, DC published what was ostensibly an unauthorized biography of Lex Luthor, the cover of which was an obvious homage to Trump's bestseller The Art of the Deal.
That book was seen in the original trailer for Powerless, now lost to the sands of time because the show underwent radical reshoots. In that trailer, Dell (the character who evolved into Van Wayne) was reading the book. During an interview at Comic Con, Alan Tudyk told ComicBook.com that Dell idolized Luthor because he took power on behalf of the powerless, standing up to beings as powerful as Superman.
Ironically enough, that graphic novel -- Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography -- was written by James Hudnall, who would later go on to work at Breitbart's Big Hollywood blog, a part of the same family of news and opinion websites that employed White House counsel Steve Bannon.
...And, yes. The "Make Metropolis Super Again" is a pretty on-the-nose riff on the "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan Trump used last year.
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Powerless premieres this Thursday, February 2 at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.