What's next for Kris Jenner to Conquer: Could the queen of self-promotion be considering politics??? Is this promotional genius about to scale the summits and peaks of politics? The savvy headline grabbing matriarch has put the JK brand and clan into every high profile sphere possible, with one exception. Could the last climb left be the lofty world of Washington? Before you dismiss the possibility, consider this...
What do Steven Seagal, Clay Aiken and Linda McMahon have in common? Besides being entertainment celebrities (Steven Seagal-Actor, Clay Aiken-Singer, Linda McMahon-WWF Entrepreneur), they each aspired to elective political office - and they're just the tip of the iceberg!
Show business celebrities seem to be a major source of movers and shakers in politics and policy. In addition to backing candidates, they are becoming candidates. And in this snapshot society, the selfie is the shortcut. Being known isn't necessarily a qualification for political office, but it clearly is a major motivator!
Part of it is name recognition, part of it is the ability to attract donors, and part of it is the narcissistic belief that if you can entertain, you can govern. And, in this media-crazed society we live in, politicians most definitely perform on a stage rife with drama and intrigue.
I remember being seventeen and a finalist in the Miss Teenage America Pageant. I was sailing through the televised event until it came to the "question" part of the evening. I still vividly recall being asked what were my career aspirations and I proudly and honestly replied "theater or politics" to which the head judge snidely replied (to peals of laughter from the audience) "aren't they the same thing?!" I was left without a response.
More than forty years later, I have one - YES!!!
More and more Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Al Franken aren't the anomalies; they are part of a trend. For Pete's sake, Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie, Dancing With the Stars favorite and oh yah, like Reagan, she was President of the Screen Actors Guild too) just announced she's running for Congress in her newly adopted home state of Michigan - really, she's running as a Democrat in the traditionally Republican 8th district with no real ties to the state, but her celebrity status is already being viewed as a game changer. Sean Duffy, currently a member of the Wisconsin Delegation in Congress, was part of the cast of the reality show, "Real World Boston" before becoming the D.A. in Ashland County, Wisconsin, and then elected to the House of Representatives.
Like him or hate him, Donald Trump is proving that it is no longer only the Ivy League lawyers or the grass root grunts who can earn the public's vote - it's celebrity status as well. And it usually happens at either end of the spectrum - when their careers are fading and they use their last bit of star power to make the leap before they end up in obscurity, or they are so high profile that success begins to bore them and they are looking for something with "more meaning." And, if you look at the track records of the former show biz types who were elected to office, they served relatively well, or to put it another way, they could have done much worse!
At a time when there are a plethora of 24/7 and instant communication platforms, the line between celebrity and politician is going to blur even further (a la Bono and Angelina Jolie). Stay tuned, I bet Kris Jenner, now a founder of the California Community Church, will take a run at something, or maybe her son in law, Kanye. Not sure we've heard the last of Oprah, and by the way, no one really talks about it, but without her star backing and incredible media exposure for Barack Obama, making him and his wife the new "it" couple, not sure he could have staged the "political theater" that got him elected.
Jesse Ventura, Fred Thompson, Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood- Guess that judge was right after all...