Last week, I kept seeing news items about rumors of various famous people contemplating running in the 2020 Presidential Election. Oprah Winfrey was rumored to run one day and the next Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, was thinking the same.
Celebrities are always in hot-water for expressing a political stance (A policy, I personally don’t understand, but that’s a blog post for another day.) but when some of them run for public office, people are suddenly perfectly okay with it.
With all due respect to Ms. Winfrey and Mr. Igor, I don’t want them to run for president.
As an adult, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s term as the freakin’ Governor of California may have ruined celebrities holding public office for me. I loved the surreal concept of his election when I was 12 years old, but eventually you realize there are enough adolescents voting in this country as it is.
I’m not through and through opposed to this idea (Look no further than Senator Al Franken), I hold onto the promise of democracy in electing the best people for the job, who aren’t necessarily celebrities. Again, Al Franken.
Truth be Told, I look at celebrities deciding to run for office as a sideshow. It really is.
Fame is a dangerous amplifier of visibility and a conflation with comprehension of complex issues. And being famous gives you a headline every time you speak. Someone like Donald Trump is a dangerous testament to the power of the uniquely ignorant speaking to his own.
Furthermore, if you’re famous, you effectively steal the limelight, and votes, from candidates of more competent merit. Jeb Bush dropped out because he couldn’t compete with Trump’s cable news coverage. Trump may or may not hate CNN but they were the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
I’m a traditional guy. America is a grassroots nation. It’s in our DNA. There’s a man or woman out there, with a few thousand in donations and a handful of true believers, driving around in 10-year old SUV, getting votes by going door to door and wearing out the rubber on their shoes.
That’s more irresistible than ever in a nation blinded by the haze of hysterical partisanship and money.