Genocidal aliens, killer robots, and megalomaniacal gods have all tried to take over and destroy the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Earth, but none of them has been anywhere near as terrifying as the villain recently revealed in Hulu’s Runaways: President Donald Trump.
In Runaways’ first episode, Gert (Ariela Barer) spends the bulk of her time at school trying to convince her classmates to join her “Undermining the Patriarchy” club, a feminist group dedicated to celebrating one’s self-worth, dismantling the system, and taking down the man. By the end of the episode, Gert’s club has exact zero members besides herself, three fewer than she needs for the school to officially recognize the group.
Obviously, Gert gets wrapped up with the rest of the Runaways drama while investigating whether their parents are all part of a secret murder cult, but in last week’s episode “Fifteen,” “Undermining the Patriarchy” comes back in a big way. While leaving campus, Gert’s approached by three other students who, after hearing her initial pitch in class, decided to join the club and took it upon themselves to start handing out posters for it. What’s more, the kids were so enthusiastic about Gert’s ideas, they altered a bunch of “I’m With Her” shirts to read “I’m With Gert.”
As cute as the joke is, it implies that the 2016 election went down much in the same way that it did here in the real world. Hillary Clinton lost, Donald Trump won, and now “I’m With Her” shirts are being repurposed for after-school programs. Speaking to Syfy, Barer joked that while Trump is never explicitly mentioned, it’s well within the realm of possibility that Clinton ended up running against a former reality TV star. But there are a couple of other hints scattered throughout the entire MCU as to what might have gone down in terms of the election.
Iron Man 3 establishes Matthew Ellis is President of the United States by 2013 and stays in office at least up until Captain America: Civil War, as evidenced by his actions during Agents of SHIELD’s third season. This would mean that Barack Obama was not President during the exact same years as in the real world, but a number of references to Obama (including a shot of Captain America reading David Maraniss’ biography of Obama) suggest he was President at some point in time. The prevailing theory is that he might have become President in 2008 before losing the election to Ellis in 2012—an election in which Ellis used the Chitauri invasion over New York as one of his major platform talking points.
Ellis’ political affiliation is never mentioned, but it stands to reason that a president who ran on the campaign promise that he would keep the country safe from extraterrestrial threats wouldn’t receive his party’s nomination again after everything that’s happened in the MCU since he took office. So, it’s perfectly plausible that Trump and Clinton went head to head there as they did in our universe before Clinton ultimately lost.
On the bright side, at least now we know we’re not living in the darkest timeline.