Personalty politics seems to be the winning ticket in this US presidential race where the candidate with the best bag of tricks will surely be the next President of America

 

Do yourself a favour and go take a look at the Marco Rubio campaign’s YouTube channel. Gems among the extensive playlist include Rubio performing comedy sketches, Rubio offering his take on the classic Batman vs Superman conundrum and even a segment that plays after each video with Rubio asking viewers to like and subscribe, before drinking bottled water in a moment of rare self-parody.

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think the man was trying to become the next ‘Pewdipie’ rather than President. Rubio’s not the only one though. With the phenomenon known as ‘The Donald’ showing no signs of running out of steam, entertaining the voters is the name of the game this primary season, and the players are starting to pull out all the stops.

Whether it’s Bernie Sanders — who is infamously unamused by the superficiality of political campaigning — dancing to ‘Disco Inferno’ on Ellen or Rand Paul using a chainsaw to ‘eliminate’ the tax code, primary candidates are pulling all sorts of publicity stunts simply just to try and gain some attention in a race where Mr Trump’s controversial remarks and bombastic style have launched him to the top of the polls.

Incidentally, I’m not even sure whether Trump himself originally set out to be an entertainer; his presidential announcement was based on issues he clearly felt strongly about and wanted to address. It just so happens the billionaire mogul with a big personality is, well, a billionaire mogul with a big personality. Trump also has a habit for saying things that, helpful or not, tend to capture the attention of the public and the media who are repeatedly both appalled and fascinated by the words coming out of his mouth. Skip to a few months later and we now have Hilary Clinton performing an SNL skit and Jeb Bush ‘slow-jamming’ the news on Jimmy Fallon. Takeaway?

Trump seems to have been a catalyst for the trend towards personality politics in America, to the point where these personalities now need all the bells and whistles they can find to even make a mark on the national campaign.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Take Ben Carson, for instance. The retired neurosurgeon currently running to win the Republican nomination embodies a calm and reserved persona, speaking with a slow and measured tone whilst often appearing rather low-energy in debates and interviews. The man is currently leading in the Republican polls. This may also be indicative of the wider narrative of the current election, which suggests that being an outsider — running to fight the ‘Washington Cartel’ as Ted Cruz likes to put it — is a more appealing voter draw than just being an entertainer. Of course, Donald Trump is both, which may explain why, until now, he has been the frontrunner ever since he announced his decision to run.