The Celebrity Politician
How a new type of politician has threatened to change the way we view people in power
The world in 2020 is bizarre and unpredictable, with many aspects of society being tested and changed in the last 10 months. The grand finale of the year is a US General Election, with Joe Biden hoping to depose a man who has become the most prominent of a new kind of person; a celebrity politician.
When Donald Trump began running as the Republican candidate for the 2016 election, he did so as a man with no political experience. However, what he lacked in qualifications he made up for in popularity. He said he would make changes to the USA which he knew many Americans wanted, such as clamping down on immigration, and his status as a businessman and TV personality meant that he needed no introduction.
One by one, he picked off his rivals for the Republican candidacy. Concentrated attacks on each combined with his dominant media presence set up an election showdown with Hilary Clinton. Trump came out on top, and has been in the news almost daily ever since. He is the dictionary definition of a celebrity politician, and others have followed in this.
Most recently Marcus Rashford has risen to a position of influence and popularity which most politicians can only dream of. His efforts over the lockdown to make sure the poorest children in the UK are given meals during school holidays has been admirable. He has opened talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and has openly supported the hundreds of restaurants which have offered to supply meals to children within the local area.
Rashford is a man who has been outspoken about his own upbringing, and has shown determination to help those who find themselves in the same position. There have been critics, of course, saying that he and all of the other footballers who earn big wages could simply donate money to the cause. However these players pay great amounts in tax, and they do not claim ridiculous items on expenses which are then paid back by the taxpayer as countless politicians have been proven to have done.
Now this isn’t a comparison between Trump and Rashford, it is merely pointing out how it is very simple for a celebrity figure to make an impact on politics if they choose to; and the opposite kinds of causes these celebrities can get behind when they are in the public spotlight.
Rashford will not be running for a political position anytime soon, but what he has done will have a profound impact on families across the UK. He has become an increasingly talked about figure and for more than his actions on the pitch whilst simultaneously turning more people against the UK government. This could be more significant than any of us realise.
Historically, celebrities have always been more popular than politicians. However this is when celebrities stayed out of politics. If celebrities can move into politics and be more popular than the actual politicians, then isn’t that a glaring example of how the political system and who represents the people is broken?
Of course, politics shouldn’t be a popularity contest and the issue with a democracy is there will always be a lot of people disappointed at whoever is in power, but the question of whether or not to feed children should not be such a divisive issue.
We have seen very different examples of celebrity politicians in recent years and, with the way celebrities try to influence the public, there will no doubt be plenty more who at least attempt to make the transition in the years to come.