Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Donald Trump

Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger Also Explain the Donald trump Phenomenon I blogged on February 19, 2016 that Peter Finch as Howarrd Beale in the Movie Network touched a nerve with the American public – the same nerve that Donald Trump is touching today: “I’m mad as hell, and I won’t take this anymore.” I still believe that, but I also suspect the Ventura/Schwarzenegger phenomenom. Both are outsider and entertainers. So is The Donald. Jesse Ventura was a former Navy diver (predecessor to the Navy Seals), then a professional wrestler, broadcaster, author, and actor when he ran for Governor of Minnesota as an independent (Reform Party). He had served as Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota from 1991-1995.He had even earlier changed his name from James George Janos to Jesse Ventura. That’s entertainment. The Democratic (Skip Humphrey) and Republican (Norm Coleman) candidates underwhelmed the Minnesota voters and Jesse Ventura won on a plurality in November 1998. Arnold Schwarzenegger took advantage of the recall campaign against the hapless Democratic Governor Gary Davis to win election as Governor of California in 2003,again by a plurality. He won a resounding reelection campaign in 2006. Let us also remember that Ronald Reagan left the entertainment industry to be elected Governor of California in 1966. He followed in the footsteps of George Murphy, famous as a Hollywood song and dance star, who was elected United States Senator from California in 1964 on his initial run for public office. Both Governor Reagan and Senator Murphy had previously served as president of the Screen Actors Guild. There’s nothing special about entertainers as leaders except that successful entertainers know how to connect with the public. They can read an audience. They know what plays and what doesn’t. There often exists an intangible spark which lets these successful entertainers connect with people, especially large groups. Very few are elitist, for they have climbed the American ladder of success. They inspire others. They also represent an example of success outside politics, and thus do not come across as career, professional politician. They may also seem more trustworthy than your average politician. They acquire a public persona. Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger certainly traded on their public image as strong leaders. Let us not also forget Al Franken, the Harvard educated comedian, who now serves as a Senator from Minnesota and Congressman Fred Grandy (1987-1995), also Harvard educated, from Iowa, who previously starred as Gopher on The Love Boat. Finally we have Clint Eastwood, who served as Mayor of Carmel, California from 1986-1988. He was elected in reaction to the restrictive policies of the then Carmel leaders, who even banned ice cream cones in public. Donald Trump has the potential of following in all their footsteps, never having served a political apprenticeship. It’s entertainment for the people.

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