Some of the New Water Ahead

bieber down-river

You’d have to be brain-dead not to realize that both the result of the 2016 presidential campaign and the campaign itself have opened a new era in the American experience. Some of you know that I call such things “a new Stretch of River.” Part of the new Stretch is the water I’ll describe below. Oh, and that’s Justin Bieber in the mugshot.

See where I’m going?

Part of the new Stretch of River after November 2016 is the Celebrity Party. Not Republican or Democratic—Celebrity. Donald Trump’s campaign and victory have opened the way for celebrity-candidates in future American presidential campaigns. Maybe not Mr. Bieber, but there are scads of others from which to choose.

It once was that the political parties looked to governorships or other elected offices for their presidential candidates. Put another way, the people in those offices were quick to choose themselves to compete for major party nominations in presidential campaigns.

I don’t think that will stay true. Instead, we’ll begin to see more and more celebrities offer themselves up as potential presidential material. They will have the name recognition, the built-in following, the rich sources of potential donations, and the social media footprint vital to successful electioneering after 2016. Celebrities will be a feature of future campaigns.

And no, I don’t agree that the first Celebrity candidate was Ronald Reagan. He was a modestly successful actor and television figure but not a Celebrity in the sense of both the word and the Capitalization that I’m using here. Trump is the first. He won’t be the last.

The keys to defining the Celebrity Party as a breeding ground for major presidential candidates include: skill in social media; inherent identification with the generations reared on 24/7 digitalization; national and interational identity; track record of success in the media, be it in tv ratings, films, music, or fame; and linkage to various causes that have the imagery of social betterment that either spans the political spectrum or dominates one large slice of it.

This is the reality of the 21st century as it grows from childhood to young adulthood, from Y2K to the 20-teens and 2020s.