It is, of course, way too early for Democrats to start considering candidates for the 2020 presidential election. It’s not too early, however, to start considering the kind of candidate they should be looking for.
A year ago, the idea that a thrice-married, con-artist, reality TV star – one with an addiction to whoring-out his name to make a buck on everything from condo towers to vodka to phony universities – could ever become commander in chief, was ludicrous. The whole thing read like a bad movie script even Adam Sandler would pass on.
But now that that con-artist name-whore is in the White House, any previously held threshold of qualifications or prerequisite experience for the highest office in the land has been shattered. Literally anyone can now be considered a possible future holder of the title ‘leader of the free world.’
So why not a former WWE wrestler – turned – America’s favorite movie star tough-guy?
Much like Trump’s actual presidency, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s initial flirtation with presidential politics started out as a bit of a joke. Last summer, The Washington Post did a story highlighting why they thought he could win an election some day. Johnson duly retweeted the story, calling it ‘interesting.’
Interesting piece from The Washington Post on if I ran for POTUS I could actually win. Writer… https://t.co/yUh5xHtyFy
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) June 24, 2016
Earlier this month, Variety asked film maker and liberal activist Michael Moore who he thought the Democrats should run against Trump in 2020. He said, with only a hint of irony, “Run the Rock! Run the Rock! Who do you want for commander in chief? I want the f—ing Rock! It would scare anybody that would hurt us.”
The irony and the joking are over. Johnson is on the cover of GQ Magazine this month, and the title of the article and the theme of the accompanying photo shoot leave no doubt: “Dwayne Johnson for President!”
When asked by GQ if he’s seriously considered giving up his movie-star lifestyle to puresue the White House, he’s flatly, “I think that it’s a real possibility.”
He’s even answering questions like a thoughtful, impassioned, but also careful and calculated politician crafting his sentences to minimize the ways they can be twisted by hacks.
Asked about why he didn’t endorse a candidate in 2016, he said:
“I feel like I’m in a position now where my word carries a lot of weight and influence, which of course is why they want the endorsement. But I also have a tremendous amount of respect for the process and felt like if I did share my political views publicly, a few things would happen—and these are all conversations I have with myself, in the gym at four o’clock in the morning—I felt like it would either (a) make people unhappy with the thought of whatever my political view was. And, also, it might sway an opinion, which I didn’t want to do.”
Asked later about his assessment of President Trump’s performance thus far, he avoided any cheap attack on the President’s character or his scandals and focused on the travel ban (he’s 100% against it) and on his dissatisfaction with a particular aspect of the his management style – namely his habit of calling opponents ‘enemies’ and excluding them from his vision for America.
“We all have issues, and we all gotta work our shit out. And I feel like one of the qualities of a great leader is not shutting people out. I miss that part. Even if we disagree, we’ve got to figure it out. Because otherwise I feel, as an American, all I hear and all I see in the example you’re setting is ‘Now I’m shutting you out. And you can’t come.’ [Disagreement] informs us. The responsibility as president—I [would] take responsibility for everyone. Especially when you disagree with me. If there’s a large number of people disagreeing, there might be something I’m not seeing, so let me see it. Let me understand it.”
If there’s one thing Trump supporters and critics can agree on (a big if), it’s this: If the Donald can be president, then anyone can be president. Literally. AN-Y-ONE.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.