Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kid Rock running for Senate? Crazier things have happened...

Kid Rock. The Hill/Getty. 

Musician Kid Rock, real name Robert James Ritche, has been dropping hints that he is seriously considering a Senate run in Michigan. The Hill. He has informed his fans that he still has 15 days to file with the Federal Election Commission to confirm that he is running. Kid Rock also criticized Democratic incumbent Senator  Debbie Stabenow and said that Americans were tired of "bullshit" from the government. For her part Stabenow used Kid Rock's statement as a fundraising opportunity saying that if President Donald Trump could win, then Kid Rock could as well. Kid Rock is expected to make an official announcement at midnight Friday morning. 

My Comment:
On the face of it, this story is pretty ridiculous. After all, Kid Rock is a rock/rap/country artist, not a politician. He also has a couple of legal issues, including a few misdemeanor offenses on his record. His music is divisive at best and he isn't someone that many people take seriously.

I think they probably should. Kid Rock has a long history of politics and has been a very outspoken supporter of Republicans and Donald Trump for quite some time now. He's one of a very few number of pro-Republican celebrities out there and is known and liked by people on the right, even ones that don't care for his music.

We also have to remember that there has been a tide of anti-establishmentism among Republicans. The fact that Kid Rock isn't a politician is probably a plus for him when it comes to Republican voters. That was, at the very least, a major factor why Donald Trump won. Though he was famous and well known, he was never a politician and I think that helped him quite a bit.

I think there is also something to be said for tribal politics happening as well. Unlike many Republican politicians who went to Ivy League schools and go to the same parties and events as the upper class elites, Kid Rock is very obviously from a working class background. It's pretty clear that he is not lower class in terms of money but in terms of appearance and background, he's a blue collar man.  

There is something to be said for that. One of the biggest and most accurate criticisms of congress today, and especially the Senate, is that they are pretty much exclusively from the upper classes. They are the Elite of the Elite and they are extremely insulated from the average people in America. In theory at least, Kid Rock would have a better connection with the lower classes and could better represent them and their interests.

And it's not like there isn't precedent for celebrities running for public office. Obviously, we have had two presidents now that have been major celebrities before being elected to office. Ronald Reagan was a famous Hollywood actor and Donald Trump was, of course, a reality TV star. And we also have to remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger served as California Governor. The late Fred Thompson was a Senator as well as an actor.

 And it's not just Republicans either. Current Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) was a comedian and actor. Former wrestler and actor Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota as a member of the Reform Party. And former New York Knicks player Bill Bradley served three terms in the Senate as a Democrat.

I'll let you evaluate the success and failures of those politicians yourself. But it's clear that celebrities can and do make a successful politicians. There is nothing unusual about Kid Rock running himself, especially given that he is rather passionate about politics.

With all that being said, do I think that Kid Rock has a chance? I am not so sure. Though Kid Rock has money, he still would need support from national and state Republican politicians for fundraising. He also has to make it through the primaries, which wouldn't play to his strength since younger people tend to not vote in them. He's presumably running against Robert P. Young who was a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice and has much more political experience than Kid Rock. From what I have seen he looks like an extremely credible candidate to run against Debbie Stabenow.

My guess is that Kid Rock's attempt is genuine but a longshot. I doubt that he can beat both the establishment of the Democratic and Republican parties. He might be able to tap into populist anger that Donald Trump rode into office, but he will need a lot of luck and some help to do so. I think that Kid Rock will likely be shocked that all the GOP politicians he supported and gave money too will give him the cold shoulder when it's time to return the favor...

Still, it would be pretty amazing to get someone like Kid Rock into the Senate. I have no idea if he's capable of doing the job but that's what staffers are for. It would just be awesome to get someone in there that isn't a typical politician. 

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