To my own surprise, I must admit, the world has somehow survived almost an entire term of Trump in office (unless you’re reading this article in the midst of nuclear Armageddon).
However, as we approach 2020— an election that Kanye West threw his hat into — I am growing less and less confident that a Democrat can win, and the world will once again be faced with a star of the small screen as leader of the free world. Whilst Reagan tried turning politics into a Western, Trump has tried his best to turn it into reality TV. Since 2016, world politics has had all the scandal of Jersey Shore — and hasn’t it been entertaining to watch! Finally, something to add some extra zest to an IR tutorial.
But it’s not just the US, is it? Other countries want in on the fun and excitement of a leader who says it how it is. We want a president who can goon Pravda — whoops, I mean Fox —and entertain us!
Take Ukraine, for example. While some call Trump a clown, Ukraine elected an actual clown, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, as president. And, more recently, rockstar Svyatoslav Vakarchuk entered into coalition talks with him. Who wouldn’t choose a campaign consisting of gigs like Vakarchuk’s over one that focussed on such trivial issues as health care, housing, and education?
“We don’t want politicians” is a cry oft heard — and was specifically used as a major criticism of Hillary Clinton (“she’s been in Washington too long”). Yeah, screw experience!
These are the same people, I assume, who would yell, “Get away, foul fiend,” when a doctor approaches them if they need CPR. “Let that actor save me instead.” Or maybe politics is the only vocation where this logic is applied, where the less knowledge and experience someone has, the better. This certainly seemed so during the 2016 presidential campaign where Trump’s distinct lack of knowhow was portrayed as a virtue — and the public ate it up. A tactic that many noted and subsequently used (bad luck, Jeremy Hunt).
Trump once stated in an interview “[sic] I can get this country moving again, Sean, because I’ve done it in business.” Perfect. An innovative injection into government to shake up the swamp. Run the country like a business —profit over people.This style of government seemed familiar to me. I realised I had seen it before: in the criminally underrated Idiocracy, a dystopian film set in a near-future USA, dominated by consumerism and anti-intellectualism. In this USA, Terry Crews, as President Dwayne Camacho, rules. Camacho is a porn and wrestling star turned president, the physical embodiment of entertainment colliding with politics.
I never expected Idiocracy to become prophetic, but Trump is Camacho — an entertainer turned president who so too has been slammed onto the canvas. So how about our own Camacho— “Piers Digestive Biscuit Morgan” sounds about right?
In this real life which so closely mirrors the small and big screens,I pose one question — are you not entertained?
Of course you are, because we have sent in the clowns.They stand as heads of state as voters time and time again elect personality over policy. But, unlike TV, politics doesn’t have an off-switch. Currently, we are seeing the political stage being turned into a theatrical one, and while it is hard not to fight fire with fire, and reciprocate the name calling, we must remember that the effects of discourse degradation —one need look no further than the rise in hate crimes in the USA to the second-highest tally in nearly a decade.
However, as we live under the 20th Etonian Prime Minister, a TV star in 10 Downing Street may be the only way to attain a PM who attended somewhere else. Gemma Collins for PM, anyone?