Americans are no longer identifying with policies and platforms of political candidates, but rather with a “public persona” that people can relate to. Although many politically aware and educated people vote for a candidate they deem well fit, there are many people who vote based on their “connection” to the politician.
Donald Trump, a reality television star and businessman becoming president demonstrated that you don’t have to be a politician to be elected to higher office. Remember when thousands of people on the internet fawned over the idea of Oprah running for president? Oprah graciously said she will not be running. Although Oprah is not an experienced politician, she is a wise and successful woman who has a huge audience that would have voted for her.
This brings me to Kanye West. He remarked in 2016 that “Rappers are philosophers of our now, celebrities are the influencers of our now, just look at the president,” and I couldn’t agree more. Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Sonny Bono, Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Donald Trump are a few examples of politicians who were famous before running for office.
At the 2015 VMA’s, Kanye said he was going to run for president. Most people concluded that this was a publicity stunt or a joke. I thought so too until I saw his recent tweets with Donald Trump
Although many disagree with his recent “bromance” with Donald Trump, hypothetically, if Kanye were to run for president, having the Republican vote would help him win.
Regardless of your opinion on Donald Trump, he has demonstrated a mastery of the new political techniques in our digital age. All of Trump’s tweets capture an audience based on emotions and entertainment value. Trump knows the average American does not have the time to immerse themselves in the complex issues of today. Similar to Roman emperors of long ago, Trump is giving his followers “bread and games” in the form of highly controversial and entertaining tweets on emotional issues such as immigration, abortion, and race.
As the old saying goes, Washington D.C is “Hollywood for ugly people.” It’s simple: publicity and fame in any form can influence a political candidate’s chances of winning. There is no such thing as bad publicity for politicians like Donald Trump. Will Democrats learn how to play the “political entertainment game” or will they stick to policy and platforms to get their message out in the next general election?
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