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Has the Presidency become a joke?

Countless A-list celebrities are considering a bid for the White House

The White House

Susan Sterner

The White House

J. Aaron Delgado, Managing Editor

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Ever since January 20, President Donald Trump’s Inauguration day, conversations about politics have changed and further divided the nation between supporters and opposers of the President. With even more heated debate about politics going around, so has talk about a possible new trend for potential candidates for the next Presidential election. Celebrities and actors have hinted at running in the Presidential election in 2020.

A celebrity holding such a high and responsible position in government is not new to the  United States considering our current president. Donald Trump’s involvement in the election and his eventual win of the title of President of the United States (POTUS), may have been a catalyst for celebrities to have thoughts of running in the next election.

According to CNN: President Trump went into his important position with no previous political experience, such as holding elected office or even any military experience. His only experience is being a business person.

These facts of Donald having no political experience may have left an open door for those who have no prior political experience to run for the Presidential election.

While no prior political or military experience is required to run, it is the trend among Trumps 44 predecessors. However, will this change how things are looked at in politics? It’s really a tough call at the moment since this is a fairly new “thing” within the political realm but with Donald Trump setting this example, now other celebrities have been taking it as their opportunity to hint at a run for the White House.

3Cent
Kanye West

American rapper and clothing designer Kanye West announced that he will be running for President in 2020 during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. It has been a little more than a year since West reaffirmed his decision to run for the position back in November 2016, according to E! News. More evidently, West admitted to Vanity Fair that he is “not a politician” and that he’s still has research to do about being a President.

More recently, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, more known for his wrestling career and roles action films such as “Baywatch”, hinted that he may be running in the Presidential election in 2020 to GQ magazine when he was asked if he would (potentially) give up his acting career to run the nation, to which he responded “I think that it’s a real possibility”.

Eva Rinaldi
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

“The Rock” seems to be on the fence about running in the election when he told Good Morning America, “I don’t know if I would make a good President,” later adding, “I know that I have a certain skillset and I think it’s in that skill set that people see and that people would want me to run.” Johnson finds it flattering that people are supporting his potential to run for President, but is it really healthy for notable figures in the entertainment industry who have no prior political experience or military service?

“Then tell me, future boy, who’s President of the United States in 1985?” Dr. Emmett Brown, supporting character from 1985 hit film Back to the Future, asked to Marty McFly, the film’s protagonist, which McFly replies “Ronald Reagan”.  Shocked at his answer, Dr. Brown exclaims “Ronald Reagan? The actor?” which would probably be many people’s reactions to many actors and figures in the entertainment industry attempting to run for President, more so to Donald Trump’s current Presidency which currently is not healthy for the state of the nation.

Professor Taylor Dark, Cal State LA Graduate Advisor for the Political Science Program, considers Presidents who are actors, who potentially have had little to no experience in politics, as unhealthy.

“We see the costs of inexperience right now in the many missteps and misjudgments that President Trump has made, which seems to flow largely from his lack of experience in Washington or in any elected office.” said Dark. “However, there is a huge difference between those who have had a ‘little’ experience versus those who have had none at all.”

The only possible example we have of an actor or public figure being President prior to Trump would be Ronald Reagan, as referenced from Back to the Future earlier. Reagan’s presidency was very effective in which he changed public policy in many areas as well as having some major legislative accomplishments.

Executive Office of the President of the United States
Ronald Reagan

Professor Dark reminds us that Reagan was an experienced politician since he served five years as president of SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, and completed two terms as the governor of California years before actor Arnold “The Governator” Schwarzenegger governed the state. Considering that Reagan was elected as President in 1980, he could have been referred to as an “experienced politician” since his acting career was dormant since the early 60’s.

But what does all this information mean? This trend seems like it can be some sort of publicity stunt for the actor’s careers or one that is related to the musician’s careers who are possibly fading, or not very relevant anymore, that resort to a residency in Las Vegas. Whether this is intentional or not, Dark and I agree that they won’t be elected unless they articulate issue positions and promises that appeal to the real interests of voters.

“It [the trend] would indicate a degeneration in the quality of American democracy,” said Professor Dark. “I highly doubt that our next elected president will be a complete novice such as Trump. Typically, voters react to the previous president, so I doubt people will be in the mood for someone like Trump after he leaves office.”

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Has the Presidency become a joke?