2020: Will America elect President Rock?
“It started off as a joke, then it became more serious,” said Marissa Payne in The Washington Post. Now Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has created buzz from Hollywood to Washington, D.C., by saying in a GQ interview that a 2020 presidential bid is a “real possibility.” If the hulking former pro wrestler runs, he just might win, said Abby Hamblin in SanDiegoUnionTribune.com. Johnson, 45, is “a self-made American hero”—a former college football player who worked his way up from poverty to become Hollywood’s highest-paid actor, raking in $64.5 million in 2016. Patriotic, upbeat, and funny, “he’s a bright, charismatic, well-liked, mixed-race American” who appeals to men and women, black and white, young and old. Is a country that already elected Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump ready for President Rock?
Not this again, said Jay Willis in GQ.com. Every celebrity, it seems, now thinks he or she can be president. Buoyed by the unlikely success of Trump, rappers Jay Z and Kanye West and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are all apparently considering their own bids. But American politics is “reactionary, and four years from now, the Trump presidency might have made it more difficult for a total novice to launch a successful bid for office.” Besides, Johnson’s fans are avoiding “the biggest elephant in the room”: his “opaque” personal politics. Johnson has appeared at the national conventions of both parties, has been friendly with Barack Obama, and is now a registered independent. If he wants to be a serious political candidate, “he’ll need to pick a side”—and that decision could send his popularity plunging.
The Rock is a natural Republican, said David French in NationalReview.com. The 6-foot-5 juggernaut is “an unabashed patriot, and his Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of expressions of gratitude to his country and his fans.” He’s also a staunch supporter of the military. But Johnson’s greatest gift is that “he’s one of the few culturally unifying figures in American life.” Now, more than ever, “Red and Blue Americans live in different places, watch different shows, and increasingly adopt different manners and mores.” Johnson somehow transcends all of that. In a hyperpolarized era, “we need points of agreement, and right now tens of millions of Americans on both sides of the political divide agree on The Rock.” ■