If former professional wrestling superstar turned silver-screen action hero, Titan Games host, and tequila entrepreneur Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ran for President of the United States (POTUS) in 2024, 46% percent of the country would support him. At least, that’s what an April Piplsay poll of 30,138 American adults reported by Newsweek says.
The poll gauged what the appeal of other celebrities running for office would be. Names included film and television stars Matthew McConaughey, Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks, and Oprah Winfrey. Johnson fared the best of the lot.
Johnson told USA Today that he would seriously consider a run for the Presidency “if that’s what the people wanted.” So that begs the question: should Johnson run for office? Let’s discuss.
Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.
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Some obvious things would accompany a Johnson presidential ticket. He would assuredly be a lock for the fittest President of all time. When it comes to public speaking, The Rock was one of the greatest wrestlers ever on the mic and still gets plenty of practice talking to his 227 million followers on Instagram. For reference, the current POTUS Joe Biden has 18.1 million followers, former POTUS Barack Obama has 34.9 million followers, and Trump has 24.3 million.
Dwayne Johnson vs. Previous Presidents
Let’s look at the credentials between Johnson and some of those guys who’ve recently sat in the Oval Office. Fun fact: if Dwayne Johnson were to win the Presidency in 2024, he’d be the third man with the last name “Johnson” to serve in that position. The others were Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) and Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969).
The Rock vs. Joe Biden
Even though Johnson has one of the largest social media followings of anyone on the planet, he mostly abstains from weighing in on anything in the political sphere. That changed when he publically endorsed the Democratic Biden-Harris ticket in late September 2020 but did so through a lens of intangible ideas like “heart…drive…and soul” rather than one of policy.
During his endorsement, Johnson did not mention the name of the scandal-ridden President at the time, who was actively taking actions to undermine democracy.
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Considering his endorsement of current President Biden, one could presume that Johnson would run as a Democrat.
The difference in political experience between Biden and Johnson, however, is as vast as it gets. Biden is a career politician, having first entered the US Senate (Delaware) in 1972 at the age of 30. He served six terms before serving as Obama’s Vice President for eight years and now sits behind the Resolute Desk after securing more votes for President than anyone ever (81 million).
On the other hand, unlike Biden, The Rock has held the moniker of “The Peoples’ Champion” since 1998 and lit a giant display of his name on fire with a flamethrower at Wrestlemania 32 in 2016. To the best of our knowledge, the number of match-ending “Peoples’ Elbows” The Rock has dropped over his wrestling career is substantially more than Biden has dropped in Congress.
The Rock vs. Donald Trump
Johnson’s political experience is much more akin to his co-WWE Hall of Famer, Donald Trump. That is to say, he doesn’t have any.
There are, of course, major differences between the two men. Johnson has never been credibly accused of rape, defrauded students via a defunct namesake university to the tune of $25 million, and refused to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election. On the flip side, Johnson has won the WWE Championship on 10 separate occasions — a feat Trump never even came close to — and knows how to deadlift.
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The Rock did notoriously smash the masked wrestler Mankind (also known as Mick Foley) in the head multiple times with a steel chair in the build-up to their Empty Arena Match at Halftime Heat in 1999. The Rock lost that match after Mankind pinned him under a forklift. The Rock also lost the Wrestlemania 15 main event to Stone Cold Steve Austin after getting hit with his finisher, the “Stone Cold Stunner” — a move also delivered to Trump at Wrestlemania 23.
The CEO of WWE, Vince McMahon, was a major donor to Trump. Trump named McMahon’s wife, Linda, to his cabinet as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Before that role, Linda McMahon ran for Senate twice in 2010 and 2012 (Connecticut). She lost both races to Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, respectively. (McMahon resigned from her position before Trump’s term finished to chair the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action.)
It is unclear if the McMahons would donate to The Rock’s presidential campaign if he were to run as a Democrat.
The Peoples’ Champion
Empathy, gratitude, the ability to perform CrossFit WOD Murph, and proper hip thrust technique are worthy traits in a leader. But so are foreign policy experience, experience holding elected office, and a deep and thorough understanding of Constitutional law, and a plan to overcome the ruthless obstruction of Mitch McConnell.
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The Rock touts himself as “the hardest worker in the room,” and there is a lot of evidence to suggest that he has the discipline required to become an expert in those areas. As we saw in 2016, being a celebrity with name recognition is exceptionally valuable when it comes to winning the Presidency. Still, it does next to nothing in terms of performing the job.
If the USA is going to “smell what The Rock is cookin'” come 2024, let’s hope his title reign doesn’t hit rock bottom.
Featured image: @therock on Instagram