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What Do the Cold War and WrestleMania Have in Common?

Photo by David Todd McCarty on Unsplash

In his visit to Cuba, President Obama made the bold assertion that his presence marked the burial of Cold War remnants in the Americas. However, the race for the White House this year has shown that the Cold War is still very much alive, and it’s the best war you’ll ever see. Nobody does warring like this war, and everybody knows that even the most hardline pacifists love it. It seems highly possible that the person pushing for Red States this year will be Donald Trump, a man who, before this election, I saw more recently at WrestleMania than on his own show. Unlike the match in which he took part, this rumble is very, very real. Trump is stirring up unprecedented turnout for the primaries, and this has transformed him from a longshot into to the party favorite.

As many have pointed out again and again, Trump is tapping into a frustration with Washington and with government policy, and he is doing so in ways that hearken back to a critical time in our nation’s history. Trump is beloved by many for “telling it like it is” and not being overly concerned about the consequences. Trump’s McCarthyism is not limited to pointing out leftist agendas from the Democratic candidates, but also includes flinging insults and labels at other Republican candidates, their families, and members of the media. The arms race running through his head makes everything he touches become the biggest and the best. His wall runs east to west, and it delegitimizes immigration strategy by shifting solely based on his thin skin. If the wall truly did get ten feet higher after each insult, it would block the sun. Leaders should be steadfast and inspiring, not divisive and reactionary. Rapid and thoughtless hostilities can lead to crises. I will note one distinction: Trump certainly doesn’t have the hair of Reagan or JFK.

So how will America respond to Trump? Will they hold fast to the principles of democracy in the West, relying on true leadership and sensible American politics, or will we allow a sensationalized and reality television campaign to take the belt and lead us into four years of childish, aggressive tactics? Time will tell. I say four years quite intentionally, as this frontrunner is also historically divisive, and seems like a great candidate for a short term. Trump’s sound byte campaign of lies, insults, and hostility has artfully taken advantage of the media’s influence on the electorate and has threatened to sacrifice the perspective of a respectable party and process by turning it into a spectacle.

However, if he is not nominated or loses in the general, will this anger brew and produce something worse? But even then, who could run a successful campaign like this other than Donald Trump?  If he wins, do we get the reality show craze out of our system, take a step back, and start rebuilding a threatened campaign process, or do we set ourselves on a dangerous path that weakens our international and domestic legitimacy? One thing is for sure: Donald Trump is not going anywhere for the next few months. The question is: where will he (and we) go from here?

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