The Rock Should Run For President. No, Seriously. He’s ‘The People’s Champion’
The idea of a professional wrestler becoming commander-in-chief should no longer raise eyebrows.
Long before Donald Trump, the successful gubernatorial candidacies of Arnold Schwarzenegger (in California) and Jesse Ventura (in Minnesota) proved that these kinds of cultural figures can bypass partisan politics and build constituencies that draw from both sides of the ring.
Dwayne Johnson, the former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar known as “The Rock,” is even better positioned to make this pivot than most.
For more than 10 years, Johnson electrified primetime TV audiences in rural America with the stage name “The People’s Champion,” a title handed down by Mohamed Ali, the original People’s Champion.
From Quartz. Story by Ben Moskowitz
A few years ago, no one would have guessed a reality-TV tabloid star like The
Donald could become the ruler of the free world. So why not professional wrestler
The Rock? He’s a successful businessperson who knows how to speak to the masses.
He’s the literal embodiment of hard work. He knows how to negotiate. He’s
approachable yet strong (real strong). He’s the everyman for every man and woman
who aspires to make something of themselves through sheer grit and motivation—
and make money while doing it.
Beloved by the left and right alike, the world’s highest-paid actor could accomplish
something no leader has managed in decades: lay the smackdown on petty partisan
politics and get Washington back to governing. And he’s been dropping hints for
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Johnson said in an interview with GQ that
“I haven’t ruled politics out…it would be an opportunity to make a real impact on
people’s lives on a global scale. But there are a lot of other things I want to do first.”
Almost a year later, he coyly acknowledged the possibility again in an SNL skit: “In
the past, I never would’ve considered running for president,” he said. “I didn’t think
I was qualified at all, but now I’m worried I’m too qualified.”
Could he win? He’s so likable that either side would likely claim him for their own. Whether through a major party nomination or a viable third-party bid, he’d bring international star power, serious charisma, and plenty of practice to the spectacle of a presidential campaign. And what better candidate to one-up the pomp and drama of 2016’s primaries than a 17-time WWE champion?
He’s the highest paid actor in Hollywood. With African-Canadian and Samoan ancestry, he’s got an ambiguously multicultural appeal. He’s relatable. You want
Dwayne Johnson to be your friend. You want him to wingman your wedding. You
want to share a beer (or three) with him. He stars in Siri ads for the hyper-brand-conscious Apple.
In May, Public Policy Polling tested various potential candidates against Trump in
2020. They considered Johnson’s prospects if he were to run for president as a
Democrat. According to the poll, Johnson would lead Trump 42 percent to 37 percent in a prospective contest, converting over 15 percent of people who supported Trump in the last election.
In Johnson’s WWF days, he was a megastar with many of Trump’s key demographics; in his speech at the 2000 RNC, he approximated that there were 14 million eligible voters who watched him each week alone.
The moment he officially enters the ring as a presidential candidate, many of Trump’s voters will sit up and take notice.
Read more at Quartz.
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