Why the 2016 Presidential Campaign will be like Pro Wrestling
I did a Blab the other day with my co-worker, Adam, about the Hulk Hogan/Gawker court case. I knew virtually nothing about the case or Pro Wrestling, but in listening to Adam discuss it, it made me think about how reality TV has changed America, and in particular the 2016 Presidential Campaign.
Pro Wrestling got reality TV right before anyone else….create interesting characters, make them good and evil, talk directly to the cameras, and make it look real, even though everyone knows it isn’t. It’s brilliant. And like all brilliant ideas, cross-overs happen. What Pro Wrestling got right, and what reality TV has refined, has now made its way to American Politics. A reality TV star has made the cross-over into US politics, and is using those same ideas to win. Nobody saw it coming, and it’s brilliant.
Remember Richard Hatch? He was the first winner of Survivor. He was the progenitor of the idea that you can say crazy inflammatory things, stab people in the back, and win. People hated/admired him. And what great drama he created! Survivor’s ratings soared.
Does this sound familiar? Donald Trump understands this. It’s the mantra of reality TV! Say controversial things! It’s ratings gold!! And the cross-over into politics has been virtually seamless! It gets votes! What is the difference between a politician’s sound bite and a reality star’s TV promo spot? Nothing!
If you talk to some rational people who are supporting Donald Trump in this election, they will tell you he really won’t do the things he says when he’s in office. They understand that Donald Trump’s campaign is a show. Donald Trump is like Hulk Hogan during a rally, but if he were elected he’d really be like Terry Bollea (the guy who plays Hulk Hogan).
How do most Americans know Donald Trump? From his reality TV show’s persona! His catch phrase “You’re fired!” is what some voters want to say to their elected representatives. This persona has tapped into the raw nerve of dissatisfied voters. Although some voters believe that persona is the one who is running for President, the more astute supporter knows that persona is no more real than Pro Wrestling. They don’t care. All they want is a change. And they are going to get one, as a massive change is happening to boring, establishment, flag waving, baby-kissing, politics-as-usual.
So if you dismissed Donald Trump early on, you probably forgot the story about how a washed-up B Movie actor became a very popular President. Or how a former Pro Wrestler became Governor of Minnesota! Or how a thick accented Austrian body builder/actor became Governor of California!! Do I need to go on? America voters elect this. It has happened.
The 2016 Presidential Election is just a reflection of our society as all Presidential Elections have been. The successful formulas of the time are put to use and that’s what’s happening now.
So to all who think Donald Trump cannot possibly be elected, I say, reflect on what I’ve said and think again. Republicans act as if their party is imploding. But I think they are innovating. It’s funny how innovation is often mistaken for pure insanity when it’s first introduced.
I think Hillary should get Mark Burnett (creator of Survivor) as her campaign manager. I think she has her own persona that can match Trump’s. She needs to be Jesse “The Body” Ventura to Trump’s Hulk Hogan.
So get the remote and buckle up! This 2016 Presidential Campaign’s gonna be better than Pay-Per-View!!!