The artist formerly known as The Rock may be contemplating a political career! Dwayne Johnson, known as a famous entertainer for his WWE years and surprisingly legitimate acting career, "has the potential to someday make a serious bid." The article talks about how The Rock might enter the world of US politics in the future, thereby making him a strong contender for sexiest politicians.
He would obviously have some pretty fierce competition on the sexy politician front, though:
Who says a wrestler could never win the White House? Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has the potential to someday make a serious bid. Don't laugh, it's not too farfetched.
I will now and for the remainder of this article refer to The Rock as Dwayne Johnson. Though I'd rather call him The Rock, I'll respect the fact that he now uses his real name. You know, like what normal people do?
Johnson, surprisingly, is a Republican. While most people in Hollywood are passionately and ostentatiously Democrat, Johnson goes his own way. And, as best as I can tell from my research, he resides in Florida. Therefore, it is possible that he could make a play for Governor of Florida in 2014. Why 2014? Simple: In that year Charlie Crist, the incumbent Republican governor of the Sunshine State, will either be prohibited from running because of term limits OR a Democrat will be defending the governor's seat. A little further explanation is necessary. Charlie Crist won the governorship in 2006. He will likely run for re-election in 2010 and if he wins, he will not be able to run for that office again in 2014 because of term limits. But if he loses his 2010 re-election bid, Republicans will be challenging for the chair in 2014. Regardless, the opportunity is there for Johnson to make a run for governor in 2014 if he so chooses to enter the fray.
Are you still with me so far? Good, let's continue. If Johnson did seek to become a governor, precedent tells us that actors/entertainers fair well in politics. Exhibit A: Ronald Reagan. Reagan was an actor before he ran for Governor of California. Reagan became the 33rd Governor of California and the 40th President of the United States. Exhibit B: Jesse "The Mind/Body" Ventura, a man who needs no introduction. Ventura, though his formal education was not vast, became the 38th Governor of Minnesota. Why did he win? Well, primarily because his independent streak resonated with Minnesota voters. Exhibit C: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger, a major Hollywood star, became the 38th Governor of California. Incidentally, none of those three gentlemen were Democrats. So if Schwarzenegger as a Republican can win a dark blue state, than there's no reason why Johnson can't win a purple state like Florida.
If Johnson were to win the 2014 Florida Gubernatorial Election, he would be a prime player in the Republican Party. A White House bid would be possible. And though a 2016 run for the presidency would be in play, a 2020 candidacy would probably give Johnson his best chance to win. He would not only have six years of experience (if he were to win re-election), but he would also have Florida (a delegate-rich state) in his corner for the primaries. And as political observers will recall, John McCain's primary victory over Mitt Romney in Florida all but locked up the nomination for the Arizona Senator.
Republicans would be thrilled to have a candidate like Dwayne Johnson on their side. His virtually unmatched charisma and ability to excite crowds make him an ideal campaigner. The youth would be drawn to his energy in much the same way they were drawn to President-Elect Barack Obama's. Johnson is also an exceptional communicator. Unlike President Bush, Johnson would be able to artfully explain his policy decisions. And wow, just imagine a Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Dwayne Johnson (yeah, fat chance but who knows what Clinton will be doing then).
However, Johnson would have to make sure that his values fall in line with the Republicans. Being a fiscal conservative but a social liberal will not win him over GOP primary voters. Running as a pro-choice candidate might fly for a gubernatorial race, but not in presidential politics. If he were to ever win a presidential election, he would have to appeal to the three legs of conservative principles: strong foreign policy, fiscal discipline, and pro-family values. Of course he could roll the dice and run as a moderate, but he would probably find more success and financial support as a conservative.
One can't help but wonder how seriously Johnson is considering making a run for office. There is one indicator, at least in my mind, that he is mulling it over. He avoids WWE like the plague. Why would he do that? Well, it is possible that he doesn't have time to make WWE appearances. It is also possible that he thinks he is too good for wrestling and doesn't want to remind the public that he once belonged to that industry. But, his motives might be a bit more strategic. I suspect that he could be keeping wrestling at a distance because of future political ambitions (if he in fact has them) and not because he's ashamed of his father's and grandfather's craft.
WWE has taken a few cruel hits the past couple of years. The most severe of those blows was the double-murder suicide of Chris Benoit. For over a week, WWE was put under the public's microscope. Some of the criticisms leveled against McMahon and company were fair, some unfair. Regardless, professional wrestling took a thumping. Bitter former wrestlers came out of the woodwork and bashed the industry that gave them fame. At the heart of wrestling's negative press was steroid use. Steroids have always been a buzzword in professional sports. Steroids have taken a major toll on MLB and the NFL. But there is one difference between the effect of steroids on professional wrestling and other sports: wrestlers die young. The list of wrestlers that died before the age of 45 are too numerous to name. But news networks across America tried their best to name those who departed this life far too early. The coverage was embarrassing and devastating. WWE went from the high of Wrestlemania 23 to the lowest of lows in a matter of three months.
So how would Johnson's association with WWE help him? Though WWE has recovered quite nicely from that grizzly affair nearly a year and a half ago, it is still shaking the cobwebs. And while WWE is rebranding itself for the public, Johnson (as a potential political candidate) is wise to keep his distance. So, to restate my prior point, politics might be the main motive for Johnson to avoid WWE.
Will Johnson ultimately seek public office? It's hard to say. Politics can get quite ugly. Good and decent people who sought elected office to make a difference have been dragged through the mud and unjustly attacked by the media. Johnson might not want that, and who could blame him? But if his record is reasonably clean and all the stars are aligned, Johnson could become a major political player.