There are a lot of reasons for the half-whimsical popular movement to convince the actor and ex–professional wrestler Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, to run for president. Larger than life both physically and metaphorically, Johnson seems an appealing, well-spoken character, perhaps even underrated as an actor. Like a real superhero, he’s in constant motion, with movie and TV projects galore. And in the Trump era, The Rock’s complete lack of conventional qualifications for the job isn’t so daunting. In some respects, he represents the light side of the entertainment planet while the current president of the United States always represented the dark side. The multiracial Californian turned Floridian also looks and sounds like America would like to look and sound (in contrast to the pasty and inarticulate incumbent) if America were an action figure.
Johnson has done a masterful job in teasing the idea of a political career for himself for quite some time:
In May of this year, Johnson pushed the meme along on Saturday Night Live with a mock announcement of a 2020 presidential candidacy on a ticket with Tom Hanks.
At about the same time, Public Policy Polling (an outfit that likes to test unorthodox questions) actually surveyed Americans to find out if the buzz about The Rock running for president had any serious basis in public opinion. Seems it does:
We…looked at Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s prospects if he were to run for President as a Democrat. 36% of voters see Johnson favorably to 13% with a negative view of him, although 50% of voters have no opinion about him either way. Both Democrats (38/15) and Republicans (31/17) see him positively. Johnson would lead Trump 42/37 in a prospective contest, and wins over 15% of people who supported Trump last fall.
Now Johnson has decided to let it be known that he’s actually interested, no kidding, in going into politics, quite possibly at the highest level.
“It was never something that I trumpeted and beat my chest and ever said publicly, ‘This is what I’m going to do,’ but as that story picked up, Americans picked it up and there was this sentiment of, ‘We’re not joking, and we would really love the idea if you would run,’” Johnson recalls.
“In that, I knew I had to listen to the people and really, really think about it,” he continues. “That’s where I’m at right now — I’m well aware politics is not the business I’m in, so the best thing I can do is continuing to listen and learn as much as I can. I’m continuing to watch our presidency and watch how every new development is handled. I continue to watch our leaders in government, and like all Americans, I continue to be hopeful that our leaders exhibit poise, perspective and the ability to bring our country together during these tough times — which I don’t feel our presidency is currently doing — so that’s where I’m at.”
Spoken like a true politician.
But here’s the problem: The Rock is too busy to run for president right now.
The multi-hyphenate superstar, who landed a star on the Walk of Fame this week and is gearing up for the release of his holiday blockbuster “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” has a jam-packed slate of projects lined up through the next presidential election…..
“I couldn’t do both,” he admits when asked by Variety about his burgeoning career as a movie star, producer and the businessman behind his company, Seven Bucks Productions, which he co-owns with his longtime manager and ex-wife, Dany Garcia. “Realistically, as we go into 2018, when you look at my slate as we’re developing and shooting into 2019 and 2020, the slate goes deep into 2021, so it feels like the realistic consideration would be 2024.”
That’s particularly true because Johnson has a lot of things to decide before running for president, like which party he belongs to, what he’d like to achieve as president, and what strategy he will pursue to get there — assuming, of course, he isn’t nominated by both parties and elected by acclamation, which shouldn’t be ruled out. He also has to figure out if Hanks is really the ideal running mate:
“Two necessities off the top of my mind are that I’d want my VP to be a tremendous leader and a high-quality human being,” he says, “Whether that’s from Hollywood, Washington, the medical field, Wall Street or education.”
Yeah, he needs to spend some time winnowing the field.
On one issue of the day, however, Johnson is well ahead of the curve. Here’s what he has to say about sexual harassment:
“I’ve shaken the hands of a few of these men, and I want to choke them out, but it’s important to stay poised right now and keep that in mind,” Johnson admits, referring to recently ousted Hollywood power players.
Here’s a Johnson 2024 slogan: “Sexual harassers? Grab ’em by the throat!” Indeed, it’s shame he’ll be too tied down to use it in 2020 against that very different kind of grabber.