Why should we vote for President? How can mere citizens be trusted to select their supreme leader directly? Actually America’s real leadership is behind the scenes so we need not worry about choosing the wrong leader in a voting process. Does voting for president serve any purpose at all? Yes it does. As a once over lightly treatment of America’s values and principles voting focuses on what is truly important to the average person. You know, the kind of person who does not do heavy analysis or fact checking.
What is the over riding standard that all presidential candidates are judged. The one factor that determines whether you will even be listened to is the all important “entertainment standard.” Competence and principles have their place but America isn’t interested if you can’t make them entertaining. Bore me or exceed my attention span and you’re done.
Normally, big money and big media will package some political hacks that can be made to appear marginally entertaining. It does not matter who the public chooses as long as its one of the company’s products. Repetition of names and slogans generally guarantee that non company products won’t get on the shelf.
This election the Republicans and Democrats both have the same problem. A non company product has gotten on each of their shelves. They aren’t very good products but they have passed the entertainment test. The market is interested. The Republican and Democratic product lines look stale and tired by comparison. Emergency repackaging is almost too late.
The first non company product to generate interest is actually the result of a previous mistake. Non company products are not supposed to make it to the Senate but occasionally one slips through the filter in a small state. Bernie Sanders slipped into the Senate and was thus entitled to media coverage on a regular basis, gradually building his product’s name recognition in spite of the company’s disapproval. He was able to recapture the outrage of an earlier era because current events seemed to duplicate the era when these solutions rang true. Nostalgia at the right time is entertaining.
The Donald Trump product is a whole study in itself. He barely has any package at all so noisily rolls around on the shelf with most of the same ingredients as the company products but unscented and unbuffered. Not only are the company products being ignored but they’re getting stunk up in the process of mimicking the upstart. Worse yet, Trump doesn’t need to suck up to distributors because he can pay for his own marketing. Producer to consumer with no middleman.
Ronald Reagan, Al Franken, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and Jesse Ventura would not have nosed over the finish line without an established past as entertainers. There may be minor and independent candidates that are also more entertaining than company products but it will take several years of developing and promoting this aptitude before they will earn their own shelf space as political entertainers. Trump’s reality show from Hell only established him as a serious entertainer who has already given voters something up front – entertainment. What has Cruz or Hillary given us? Nothing.
There’s always a chance that the party oligarchs will preempt on the ballot what the voters have already decided on their plasma TVs. This would not bode well for democracy. The remote controls would start clicking every time one of the entertainment substitutes flashed on the screen. The canceled Bernie and Trump pilots may develop into a more popular political commentary. How about “Real Estate vs. 5th Estate”? And play it opposite any official party babbling.
People have told me that selecting candidates based on entertainment ability is a very cynical view. “What about expertise? Experience?” But most of the boring hacks squeezed out of the sausage mill don’t know anything about the levers of power either. Things happen because career bureaucrats and advisors make them happen. The public has only a hazy awareness of who some of them are. Elected Presidents get to choose from a very short list in each category. So why not make the front person an entertainer? Let’s transform the figurehead Commander in Chief to a functional Entertainer in Chief.
For those just starting out on the political path I would not start out on the school board or city council if you want to go far as your own person. I would begin a stealth career as a musician, actor, or comedian. And when your opponents criticize you for your lack of political experience you can look smugly into the camera and say “I have plenty of political experience. Just look at my entertainment ratings.”