Is America ready for its second celebrity president? Alec Baldwin and Howard Stern offer this medium-temperature troll from the latter’s show yesterday, where the Hollywood A-lister insists that he would “absolutely” win if he ran as the Democrats’ nominee against Donald Trump in 2020. Stern, who used to offer Trump plenty of airtime to maximize his own celebrity status back in the day, eggs Baldwin on to toss his hat in the ring … or at least his Trump wig from SNL:
“If I ran, I would win,” Baldwin proclaimed. “I would absolutely win. I 1,000 percent would win.”
The only things preventing the actor from running against Trump, he says, is his commitment to hosting ABC’s “The Match Game,” and his family. Baldwin said that his wife Hilaria would disapprove of his seeking the presidency.
“It would be the funniest, most exciting, craziest campaign,” Baldwin added.
And he wouldn’t be wrong.
Ahem. All due respect to The Wrap, but Baldwin is more noted for his dramatic rather than comedic mien, especially when he’s off script. In extemporaneous public moments, Baldwin’s more likely to become combative than comedic, as a number of paparazzi can attest (although perhaps not without some rational basis). For one thing, there’s that one unfortunate phone message to his pre-adolescent daughter during his divorce that continues to haunt him, even though it arguably should never have been made public in the first place. Baldwin hasn’t built up a warm-and-fuzzy public reputation the way that someone like Tom Hanks has, or a track record of personal investment in issues (South Sudan, for instance) and a professional public persona in the way George Clooney has on the Left. Baldwin’s been a powder keg in public, enough so that it won’t take much to start jogging memories.
In fact, the jogging has already begun:
On the other hand, Trump got elected while having a not-entirely-dissimilar set of issues in his public persona, but that ignores two points. First, Trump connected to the people who felt disconnected from the American political system. How would a Hollywood darling of the elite Left connect to people who didn’t already vote for Hillary Clinton? Only someone with the likeability of a Hanks or the reach of an Oprah Winfrey could pull that off, not the guy who sticks a blond wig on his head and does mediocre imitations of the guy he’d run against, the same guy who got those votes as a rebuke to the media and political elitists Baldwin represents.
Second, the celebrity president model lives and dies with Trump in 2020. If he’s successful, he’ll win a second term. If Trump fails, the next president will be a low-wattage technocrat who can fix whatever got broken — someone like a Tim Kaine or a governor who’s mainly off the radar at the moment.
But all of that is overthinking things. Baldwin’s as likely to run for president as he was to move out of the US when George Bush got elected. He’s enjoying his run as a Trump troll, and the rest of America will have fun debating the campaign that will only exist in fantasy-politics leagues. Everybody “absolutely” wins!