If within the span of an hour, you’ve seen an absurdly powerful, 7’0 tall, 500 lbs, man crying, women tear each other’s clothes off, a billionaire forced to kiss an obese man in a thong’s buttocks, Canadians randomly turning evil, and someone slammed through a table that’s on fire, then you’re almost certainly a WWE pro-wrestling fan.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has an interesting relationship with politics. Its former CEO, Linda McMahon, now serves in the Trump cabinet. Trump himself has been so involved with WWE that he has a place in its Hall of Fame. Former pro-wrestler and announcer, Jesse Ventura, served as Governor of Minnesota. The Rock is now considering a presidential run. And Glenn Jacobs – aka Kane – is now the Mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee. (As an aside, Jacobs’ lectures on Austrian economics are among the finest available on the internet.)
WWE is often political in its programming. They outright supported both wars against Iraq. They often stoke patriotic fires using gimmicks with antagonists opposing America. They have recently taken a feminist slant in promoting their women’s division. And their LGBTQ+ advocacy is capitalized on by Finn Balor’s merchandise.
There’s something to WWE that lends itself neatly to the world of politics. Politics is 4-dimensional chess. Sometimes the most helpful thing to do is to have people love you. Sometimes the most helpful thing to do is to have people hate you. You need a reaction.
Hillary Clinton’s rallies were sparsely attended; she was unable to draw a crowd in the rustbelt states and, to steal a phrase from Jim Cornette, she “couldn’t draw a fly if you dipped her in shit”. But Jesse Ventura was able to get people to notice him. Trump, too, succeeded highly in this respect.
The world of politics is about getting noticed. The media can say good things about Trump; they can say bad things about Trump, but they must say things about Trump in order for him to get elected.
WWE is geared toward getting a reaction. It doesn’t particularly matter if the wrestler is cheered or booed; as long as people are noticing them.
Justin Trudeau has recognized this.
He outright discriminates against pro-life individuals. He calls people who disagree with his immigration policies racist. He’s not trying to get 100% of the vote, he’s trying to antagonize people. He doesn’t need 100% of the vote, he needs 35% of the vote, and if he antagonizes enough people to post on social media, then those people will have friends and family that disagree with their politics and see such posts and the disagreeing comrades are being advertised to from the angry political posters and advertised to for free I might add.
Wrestlers excel in playing with people’s minds. Politicians need to do this in order to get elected. There’s a reason that Trump is in the WWE Hall of Fame and his main competitor, CNN, was started by WWE’s main competitor – Ted Turner. These are people that know how to play on addictive emotions. Their psychology is on point. We need to understand this to understand the direction of politics.
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