Steve Hamilton, Digital Media Director
Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy mystifies me. His brash, often outrageous statements regularly make headline news, late night comedy sketches and keeps him almost constantly trending on Facebook. Even in Canada people are more interested in what the Donald has been up to than our own politicians and lawmakers. However, the Donald isn’t the first member of the public eye to become involved with American politics, a stark contrast to Canadian politics. Our politics are boring, there’s no other way to say it. American politics, by comparison, are like a manic reality show.
It’s amazing to see how celebrities are handled in American politics, it seems like if you have some level of renown, (or even infamy!) you have a leg up in the race. America has a history of electing well-known celebrities to be mayors of cities across the States, including singer, and one-half of Sonny and Cher, Sonny Bono who was mayor of Palm Springs California and then represented the area in the U. S House of Representatives. Infamous television personality Jerry Springer was elected mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1971 but was ousted in 1974 due to his fondness for ladies of the evening. I could see that as a Springer show episode now, “Help! My mayor loves prostitutes!” Famous western movie star Clint Eastwood was mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California for two years starting in 1986.
As for higher office, we can’t forget about actor and bodybuilder extraordinaire Arnold Schwarzenegger and WWF pro wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura who served as governors of California and Minnesota respectively. Maybe the general populous likes voting for men who could easily beat them up? Although I don’t think “The Body” is quite as impressive as he would have been in his wrestling heyday. Schwarzenegger, the action hero, was also in the movie Junior where he is the first male pregnancy case. Ventura was a wrestler! I can’t think of anything less politically friendly than being a larger than life over the top wrestler, yet it didn’t seem to negatively affect his campaign! Somebody better tell Trump, as people love to forget that he is actually in the WWE Hall of Fame and had a match against Rosie O’Donnell. I wish I was kidding.
None of these celebrities would have stood a chance if not for Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The former actor was best known for playing the “Gipper” in the “Knute Rockne Story” and having a chimpanzee co-star in “Bedtime for Bonzo.” He went on to have one of the most heralded two-term presidencies in American history.
When given the choice, Americans seem to gravitate towards someone with star power, someone with brand recognition. Trump has been using this to great effect during this rollercoaster ride of a campaign, and I’m curious to see where it’s going next. Kanye West announced he wants to run for office in 2020. Only time will tell, but I suppose my vote is on Miley Cyrus as the first female President of the United States.