How Donald Trump's Run For Presidency Turns US Politics Into A Charade
Remember when Gary Coleman ran for governor?
He placed eighth in a field of 135 candidates in California's gubernatorial recall election in 2003.
Coleman finished ahead of porn star Mary Carey and just behind pornographer Larry Flynt, who ran on a “Vote for a Smut-Peddler Who Cares” slogan.
Even Ariana Huffington ran for the position.
There were also several serious candidates in the election, including Lieutenant Gov. of California Cruz Bustamante, Sen.
Tom McClintock (R-CA) and former Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth.
In the end, the mixed bag of the qualified and unqualified dissolved, and the Terminator emerged victorious.
“It was pure chaos,” Larry Flynt said in a 2013 interview with the Daily News. “I didn’t get in the race because I had any illusions of going to Sacramento, I just wanted to raise a little hell and hope I didn’t get beat by Gary Coleman."
Donald Trump isn’t the first candidate to make a mockery of American politics.
He’s not even the first rich-guy billionaire to run for president (see Ross Perot). But, he seems to represent a hyper-extreme for why celebrities in politics can be messy.
It's not that famous people can't become great politicians.
After a respectable career as a second-tier actor for Warner Brothers studios in the 1930s and 40s, Ronald Wilson Reagan went on to serve as Governor of California and then President of the United States.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was a the former "Saturday Night Live" star. And to his credit, Arnold Schwarzenegger, mega-movie hero and body fitness icon, went on to eventually learn how to pronounce the word California.
It’s almost like he doesn’t know that after he’s elected president, he’ll actually have to be president.
"At this point, I mean, we've got to focus on our message. Otherwise, my whole campaign will be, 'How do you feel about what Donald Trump said about something?'" Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said. "He says something every day."
Sometimes, I think we forget the majority of the candidates debating onstage are active congressional members, and they don't have to wait to become president to make change.
Lindsey Graham, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are all current senators. Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and John Kasich are all actively governing states.
This is where Trump's spirited bravado is dangerously deflective.
Personally, I’d prefer a policy where voters only get to see the candidate they voted for after they actually vote. Kind of like "The Voice," but for presidents.
Every time Trump says something irreverently ridiculous, it takes ink, cameras and reporting away from addressing tangible issues that smack us in the face every day like student loan debt, police brutality, income divides, birth rights, climate change, etc.
We're all well over a year out from even being able to decide who wins this thing, yet every day, our nation's top decision-makers are distracted into the vortex of Trump's buffoonish quips.
"I don't think we should reward vulgarity. And I don't think vulgarity equates with insight," Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said after Thursday's debate. "I have no idea whether he's conservative. He really could be a liberal, for all I'm concerned. I have no idea what his real philosophy is, other than that he is for promoting himself."
Trump's hilarious lack of electability will probably meet its match as the media magnate begins an actual campaign trail.
How will he possibly inspire everyday citizens from town to town?
Perhaps, he will drop out and run within his own party. Perhaps, he'll just announce his entire candidacy has been an elaborate stunt to pimp a line of Trump hotels and bikini contests.
It's hard to tell. Until then, just think about Gary Coleman.