It is Dwayne Johnson’s inauguration. He is addressing the people who have gathered to celebrate the victory of The Rock and support the new president. He makes promises that he will fix everything that is wrong in America and people are cheering, excited to see an eloquent and confident figure on the west front of the Capitol. If that was a text you read several years ago, you would have thought that it was Dwayne Johnson’s new movie. Actually, this is a scenario that could happen in 2023.
Johnson, who is one of the largest Hollywood actors and former WWE superstar has discussed a potential presidential candidacy in 2023 election. Even though this is still far-fetched, it has been talked about a lot, and the most important thing is that the rumor has started from no-one else by Johnson himself.
This man teases the crowd now and then about the candidacy, and he spoke about his projects and mostly about the new movie called Jumanji at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con in October. However, he did address the election topic, and he said: “I think the ‘People’s President’ has a really nice ring to that. I’ll just say that.” One man from West Virginia took this seriously, and he registered campaign committee named “Run the Rock 2023.”
Let’s not forget that Donald Trump was also a public figure before he ran for president. He was a big part of WrestleMania 23, and you probably remember what was known as The Battle of the Billionaires between Trump and Vince McMahon. Even though he had no political experience, but was a reality TV star and business giant, Trump managed to win the election and get into the office. Love him or not, he showed that anyone could become a president, even someone with no political experience whatsoever. He set a precedent for the future presidential runs.
JD Gins, a political consultant from Texas who has worked on both federal and local levels for the Democratic party told Bleacher Report: “Most conventional wisdom of politics was turned on its head, thrown out the window and totally tossed aside. With Donald Trump being elected president, all bets are off.”
If any actor decided to run for president ten years ago, for instance, it would have been a car crash. Even today, Johnson would be an underdog if he actually decided to put his name in the race, but there is hope that he could win. Let’s take a look why Johnson stands a chance.
The Rock has a winning attitude
Johnson was a winner since he was a teenager. He worked hard for everything he has today, but he had to hit rock bottom several times to be successful. First of all, this man earned his spot on the University of Miami football team and got a full scholarship. Later on, he became the member of the 1991 national championship squad. Injuries stopped him from going pro, but he rose to his feet to become one the biggest names in WWE. When he conquered the wrestling world, he jumped on the Hollywood bandwagon and became the most-paid actor and one of the biggest stars in the movie industry. That takes a lot of courage.
The question that arises here is whether Johnson can do the same with politics. First, he needs to win the election and then to actually do something useful in the front office. His former tag team partner Sean Waltman said: “I just really think anyone who doesn’t think he has a good chance is insane.”
Ashe Schow, senior political columnist for the New York Observer also believes Johnson has a chance: “I think he’s got a great shot at this point. We elected a reality TV president, members of Congress who are former athletes, former actors, former or current celebrities. We have these people now.”
Matthew Chapman, a national political writer for Shareblue, has a similar opinion: “I think it’s definitely possible Johnson could run as a serious candidate. Al Franken leveraged a career in comedy into a serious run for office and has comported himself as well as any other senator. But I think Johnson would need to win over a lot of skeptics in order to show he can do so.”
Some other WWE stars were active political figures such as B. Brian Blair from The Killer Bees tag team, Glenn Jacobs or Kane and Jess “The Body” Ventura, who was the governor of Minnesota. All of those wrestlers were active on the local level, but The Rock would be the first one to appear in the “main ring.”
Another reason why he has a chance is that everybody knows a lot about him, plus people love him. Schow confirmed: “He seems beloved by all. He hasn’t stepped out into politics. He hasn’t given any controversial views, so he hasn’t polarized anyone. Everybody knows him. Everybody likes him. Celebrities tend to do well. Usually, the most well-known person gets the nomination.”
“Clearly, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has a huge following,” Gins agreed. “He has a lot of fans. It may be prudent to assume that a lot of them aren’t traditional, diehard voters.”
Some people would like to see the politicians running for presidents, but the others think that the only way to beat Trump is by putting another celebrity on the other side. Gins explained: “There are a lot of people in the Democratic party who say, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them. Let’s get Tom Hanks. Let’s get Oprah. Let’s get somebody famous who people love who is progressive and liberal and let’s go.'” But is this what America wants? Two presidents in a row who took part in WrestleMania(s) in the past? That sound funny, don’t you think?
Presidential race has changed
Trump’s victory was probably the most surprising win ever. Like him or not, you need to respect what he accomplished, and with the controversy around him, Trump managed to rise above and lead an intelligent campaign, aiming for the working class as America’s greatest asset. What does this mean for 2023? Gins summed it up perfectly: “It means anything is possible.”
For the record, physical appearance has a major influence, and we will prove it to you with the following statement. During the 1960 presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, the opinions were divided. Those who listened to the duel on the radio claimed that Nixon won, but those who watched it on TV were sure that Kennedy prevailed. Kennedy had poise, and with his posture and appearance, he managed to persuade so many voters that he is the right candidate. And Johnson has the looks, that is for sure.
“There used to be this theory that the taller candidate won. I think there’s evidence to that. [Barack] Obama was taller than [John] McCain. Trump was taller than Hillary [Clinton],” Schow said.
She added: “In 2000, George W. Bush was a character. Al Gore was not. In 2008, Obama had all the celebrity. John McCain was just a pragmatic senator. Clinton came off as boring, uninteresting and at times, mean. Trump was something we have never seen before.”
But Johnson is more than just looks. He is eloquent, intelligent and inspiring. “I noticed right away he was going to be bigger than wrestling,” Waltman said. “And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. There’s just that something extra about him.”
“There are always going to be some voters who look for personality first in the candidate they want to support,” Chapman admits. “In moderation, I don’t think this is an unhealthy impulse—politicians can benefit from being personally compelling to people. But looking to celebrities from other walks of life to run for office is an extension of that impulse, and as we saw with Trump, the consequences can be severe.”
If Johnson wins, can he navigate the boat?
This is the real question. Johnson is popular enough, and he can truly win. People would cast a vote for The Rock, but even if he wins, will he be able to run the country and be the leader he is now? In the case of Trump, Gins noted: “It’s like being elevated to being an NFL quarterback if you’ve never played football before. You don’t know the offense. You don’t know anything at all. And all of a sudden, here you are, driving the most important offense in the world.” And the same goes for Johnson.
Last but not least, The Rock is apolitical, and that is a good thing. He hasn’t been involved with any political party and doesn’t have controversy behind him. We know all about him and his life. He can attract both Republican and Democratic voters, which is excellent. However, there is always the risk that he might lose thousands of people who support him currently if he says something liberals or conservatives don’t support, pointed out Schow. Meanwhile, Gins acknowledged: “If he runs, he’s going to pick a side and piss off somebody else, and half the country won’t see his movies anymore.”
Would you like to see Johnson running for president and if he does, could he win?