Standards Fall as More Celebrities Consider Presidency

By AMANDA KRAUSE
On March 8, 2017

Photo courtesy of Aphrodite in N.Y.C., Wikipedia

On June 16, 2015, United States politics changed forever when then CEO Donald J. Trump announced his presidential bid. Though his future comments and actions were the main cause of controversy throughout the nation, Trump first made headlines simply by being an American celebrity running for government office.

Sure, Donald Trump is not the first celebrity to hold a spot in the American government. Ronald Reagan was a popular actor before serving as President, and Arnold Schwarzenegger followed a similar route, being a world famous athlete and film star before becoming the Governor of California.

But President Trump’s campaign was different from the get-go, beginning seemingly as a joke. The man himself was serious and ready to work, but the American people were skeptical. Could this reality TV star that has filed for bankruptcy multiple times really lead our nation and represent Americans to the world?

As the race progressed, the clearer it became. Trump had determination, a large following and serious influence on the people of the United States, many of whom found his famous nature charming, funny and entertaining.

After more than 12 months of campaigning, Trump was elected through a combination of votes from the Electoral College and millions of American citizens, simultaneously securing the presidency and forever changing the standards set for American presidents.

Previously, the United States has only accepted presidents that exemplified honesty, integrity and respect. Also, many former U.S. presidents have served some time in government, the military or both. Trump was never part of the military, and the idea that he shows honesty, integrity or respect is highly debatable.

Today, if the host of “Celebrity Apprentice” can be our president, what’s stopping any other star? Earlier this week when being interviewed by David Rubenstein on “The David Rubenstein Show,” Oprah Winfrey made a simple comment regarding a potential presidential campaign that spiraled much farther in the media than she imagined.

"That's what I thought. I thought, 'Oh gee, I don't have the experience, I don't know enough,’ and now I'm thinking, 'Oh! Oh,’” said Winfrey, regarding her ideas on what it means to be President of the United States.

Though Winfrey never stated she was actually interested in running, news headlines everywhere claimed the TV talk show host would be our first female leader of the free world. The #Oprah2020 hashtag took over Twitter immediately, and Facebook advertisements were suddenly covered with doctored pictures of Winfrey in the White House.

This has been seen countless times, especially over the past year. Everyone from Kanye West, to Tom Hanks and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been labeled as a future president.

Though celebrities have joked for decades about taking over the Oval Office, the election of Donald Trump has turned this comedic statement into reality.

And we can’t blame media outlets for taking slight celebrity commentary on serving as president seriously. According to CNN, Donald Trump first hinted at running for office back in 1987 and continued to do so throughout the early 2000s. And in almost all of these instances, Donald Trump was joking.

Fast forward through nearly 30 years of hinting at a serious presidential campaign, and Trump is now our president.

The idea of what it means to be President of the United States has changed drastically over the course of Trump’s presidency so far, mostly due to his policies and actions, but also largely due to his celebrity status.

By allowing a celebrity to run our nation, we have now forever altered the standards and criteria set by the previous 44 presidents of the United States. Beginning with Trump’s presidency, we as the American people have now made it “okay” to elect a leader whose resume details not much more than hosting reality television shows, leading beauty pageants and owning failing businesses.

akrause@ramapo.edu

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