There’s an interesting interview in Time Magazine this week with Fox News anchor Bret Baier which I wanted to call to your attention. Much of it focuses on the fact that Fox hosted a town hall with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton last night. The interview was done ahead of time and the questions obviously honed in on the rarity of any Democrat (and Hillary Clinton in particular) setting foot on Fox’s turf. Bret covers all of that and his predictions seemed to bear out for the actual event. At the very end, though, the interviewer gets down to some of the fluffier questions and gets Baier to comment on whether or not this election season is completely unique because of the presence of The Donald.
TIME: Is 2020 going to be a snoozefest after this? Is any future race going to compare?
BAIER: Hey, we could be covering Kanye 2020.
TIME: Give me the strength.
BAIER: It has opened up a whole different thing about who runs for President and what exactly the parameters are. Donald Trump has broken the mold.
I don’t know if he goes all the way. We’ll see. He’s certainly in position to get the GOP nomination. He’s changed the way that political races are run. 2020 could be just as—or more—interesting.
I realize they were being playful, but it’s worth asking if the political landscape may have actually been irrevocably changed by Trump’s entrance onto the stage. Will Kanye actually run four years from now? Well… he did say as much at one point, but it’s worth pointing out that he also admitted he was high at the time that he said it. Also, that would depend on who wins this one, right? I mean, if the GOP takes the White House, then Kanye may be an obvious choice, (/sarc) but if it’s President Hillary, what’s he going to do… primary her?
But all Kanye jokes aside, let’s get back to the original question for a moment. Much of this will depend on whether or not Donald J. Trump succeeds in becoming the nominee and possibly even the President of the United States. But win or lose there’s no doubt that many of the rules we’ve operated the American Game of Thrones under for decades have been tossed out the window. Are they gone for good or will this just be one of those embarrassing, drunken holiday party episodes that we all wake up from this November and simply agree not to speak of in the future?
As far as candidate selection goes, the ground rules may definitely have changed. We’ve gone a long time with the only viable candidates coming from the stables of the establishment. Governors, Senators and the occasional congressman are the only ones who made it through the ringer of the primary process. This is likely because they were the only ones with experience on the campaign trail and they knew the “rules” of how to operate in this theater. But name recognition goes a long way and it’s one of the major obstacles that many prospective office seekers struggle to overcome.
Trump had no such issues. Everyone knew him, and not just for his many luxurious buildings and casinos. He was a reality TV star in his own right and a frequent topic of conversation among those who normally don’t give a hoot about politics and elections. If you’re starting with massive name recognition you just have to get over that steep learning curve in terms of surviving the campaign. But on that second point, Trump hasn’t had any trouble thus far. He didn’t like the old rules so he just changed them, and the media went along with it right down the line.
So my exit question for all of our readers is as follows: Could this possibly work again or was it a one off phenomenon? Is there another television or film star out there who could pull this off? If so, presidential campaigns will be very different in the future and Kanye West in a Democratic primary isn’t as crazy as it sounds. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the mainstream media has learned a lesson here and they won’t fall for it a second time.
Bah. Who am I kidding? It’s all about the ratings, my friends, and they would serve Kanye up on a silver platter for a few more points in the Nielsen results.