Celebrity politicians signal the US political system’s decline - Taipei Times
Sat, Jan 13, 2018 - Page 9 News List

Celebrity politicians signal the US political system’s decline

By Cas Mudde  /  The Guardian

This is where the celebrities come in, often egged on by frustrated donors who live in similar celebrity bubbles.

Even though several celebrities are motivated by opposition to Trump, they are in many ways much more similar to him than to traditional politicians. They see politics mainly in terms of winning elections, but often lack the knowledge and skills to implement the few concrete policies they have presented.

Some people are hoping that the “inevitable” failure of the Trump presidency will once and for all cure the US of its love for celebrity politics. This is naive and short-sighted. First of all, for many Republicans, he is not failing at all. Second, even while many might be unhappy with him, and weary of other celebrity politicians, they do not see any better alternatives out there.

This is the main reason that celebrities are (thinking of) entering politics and that people are (thinking of) voting for them: the lack of attractive options among experienced politicians.

Remember that Trump started in a field of 17 candidates for the Republican nomination — only one of them had similar name recognition, Jeb Bush. While the Democrats had a clear frontrunner, keeping other party insiders out of the race, the almost successful challenge by outsider Bernie Sanders was evidence of the frustration with Hillary Rodham Clinton among many of those faithful to the Democratic Party.

As long as the Republican establishment continues to kowtow to Trump’s every wish and the Democratic establishment does not get beyond a “Trump is bad, vote for us” campaign, outsiders will see a chance to enter the race, and voters will look for outside options.

In a political system where money and name recognition are key factors in winning elections, celebrities are positioned to do well, particularly within a field of uninspired and uninspiring professional politicians.

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