FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

I Played One on TV

Who’d have thought it would come from Ukraine?  That is a country that has been in various stages of turmoil for many years. It is hard to believe it would provide the inspiration for, and answer to, the question that has perplexed many Republicans contemplating the prospect of the 2020 elections, without a plausible candidate to challenge Donald Trump in a primary.  The inspiration offered by Ukraine comes in the form of  Volodymyr Zelensky.

As recently as one month ago, few people outside the Ukraine had heard of Mr. Zelensky.  He is a 41-year old Ukrainian comedian-actor, and star of the  television sitcom, Servant of the People, a show that has aired in Ukraine for the last three years.

Servant of the People is a story about a modest school teacher who becomes an exemplary president of Ukraine, living a life as president without all the trappings that normally accompany that position.  In the plotline, he takes advantage of his position to rid the country of corrupted and deceitful bureaucrats, or, as we like to say in the United States, he “drained the swamp.”

The success of Servant of the People  was such that Mr. Zelensky, having gotten an albeit fictitious taste of what it was like to be president, (but liking the flavor) decided to try for the real thing. On January 1, 2019, he announced that he was running for president, and began campaigning in earnest to achieve his goal.  Shortly before the election, in a debate with the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, he said:  “I’m not a politician.  I’m just a simple person who came to break the system.”  He was more successful than he might have anticipated.  The election took place on April  21, 2019. To the surprise of many,  Mr. Zelensky handily defeated the incumbent, Mr. Poroshenko, who had been president since 2014.

Mr. Trump, like Mr. Zelensky,  is completely unqualified to be president.  According to one recent poll, many Republicans would like for there to be a primary challenger to Mr. Trump in 2020, and  Mr. Zelensky’s victory has given them heart.  Nonetheless, as this is written, only one person has announced his intention to challenge Mr. Trump in the 2020 election on the Republican ticket-William Weld.

Mr. Weld was the governor of Massachusetts almost 30 years ago.  As governor he did not get the kind of experience that being on a television show in the Ukraine pretending to be president gave Mr. Zelensky, or that being on a television show in which you fire people, gave Mr. Trump.  Furthermore, having been out of public sight for many years, Mr. Weld has neither name nor facial recognition that would help him in a primary against Mr. Trump.

Notwithstanding the foregoing,  there is one reason for those looking for a primary opponent for Mr. Trump to take heart.  That is because,  waiting in the wings, there is someone, until now unidentified, who could prove to be a formidable challenger to Mr. Trump in a primary contest. With Mr. Zelensky as a role model, this person has all the qualifications needed for a successful challenge to Mr. Trump.  It is someone who has, like Mr. Zelensky, been on television repeatedly pretending to be president during the last two years.  The person who fits the bill perfectly is the well- known actor, Alec Baldwin.

In addition to many other roles he has played over the years, Mr. Baldwin has assumed the mantle of the presidency on repeated occasions on the popular network show, Saturday Night Live.  Although Mr. Baldwin’s appearances have always consisted of mimicking the real Mr. Trump, he has done this for more than two years and, in  playing that part, has acquired at least as good an idea of what it is like to be president of the United States as Mr. Zelensky got by pretending to be the president of Ukraine.  Of course, Mr. Baldwin was not required to be as creative in his portrayal of the president, as Mr. Zelensky had been in creating the fictional president of the Ukraine since he was simply mimicking various things that Mr. Trump had been doing in the intervals between Mr.  Baldwin’s appearances on the show.

As one considers Mr. Baldwin’s prospects in a primary,  it is important to note that Mr. Baldwin has one significant advantage in a competition with Mr. Trump that Mr. Zelensky did not have in his competition with Mr. Poroshenko. Although Mr. Zelensky won by a landslide, it was not because people confused him with Mr. Poroshenko.  He won on his own merits.

If Mr. Baldwin portrays himself in style and manner in primary debates with Mr. Trump, as he does in his appearances on Saturday Night Live, there is an excellent chance that many of Mr. Trump’s less sophisticated supporters  will be confused as to which of the candidates is the real Donald Trump and, in their confusion, may vote for Mr. Baldwin by mistake during the primaries.  That would be unfortunate for Mr. Trump.  It would be fortunate for the rest of us.

 

More articles by:
August 11, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
Why Capitalism is in Constant Conflict With Democracy
Paul Street
Defund Fascism, Blue and Orange
Richard C. Gross
Americans Scorned
Andrew Levine
Trump and Biden, Two Ignoble Minds Here O’erthrown
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities
Sonali Kolhatkar
Trump’s Presidency is a Death Cult
Colin Todhunter
Pushing GMO Crops into India: Experts Debunk High-Level Claims of Bt Cotton Success
Valerie Croft
How Indigenous Peoples are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices to Fight Mining Corporations and Covid-19
David Rovics
Tear Gas Ted Has a Tantrum in Portland
Dean Baker
There is No Evidence That Generous Unemployment Benefits are Making It Difficult to Find Workers
Robert Fantina
War on Truth: How Kashmir Struggles for Freedom of Press
Dave Lindorff
Trump Launches Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Elizabeth Schmidt
COVID-19 Poses a Huge Threat to Stability in Africa
Parth M.N.
Coping With a Deadly Virus, a Social One, Too
Thomas Knapp
The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid
Binoy Kampmark
Mealy-Mouthed Universities: Academic Freedom and the Pavlou Problem Down Under
Mike Garrity
Emperor Trump Loses Again in the Northern Rockies in Big Win for Bull Trout, Rivers and the ESA
Alex Lawson
34 Attorneys General Call to Bust Gilead’s Pharma Monopoly on COVID Treatment Remdesivir
August 10, 2020
Gerald Sussman
Biden’s Ukrainegate Problem
Vijay Prashad – Érika Ortega Sanoja
How the U.S. Failed at Its Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela
Daniel Warner
Geneva: The Home of Lost Causes
Mike Hastie
The Police Force Stampede in Portland on August 8, 2020 
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s Executive Orders: EOs as PR and FUs
Rev. William Alberts
Cognitive Without Conscience
David Altheide
Politicizing Fear Through the News Media
F. Douglas Stephenson
Is Big Pharma More Interested in Profiteering Than Protecting Us From Coronavirus?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Money Plague
Howard Lisnoff
Revolutionaries Living in a System of Growing Fascism
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump is Defeating Himself
Lynnette Grey Bull
The Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Human Rights Emergency is Not a Photo-Op for Ivanka Trump
Victor Grossman
Some Come, Others Go
Binoy Kampmark
Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities
The Stop Golden Rice Network
Why We Oppose Golden Rice
Michael D. Knox
After Nagasaki, the U.S. Did Not Choose Peace
Elliot Sperber
A Tomos 
Weekend Edition
August 07, 2020
Friday - Sunday
John Davis
The COVID Interregnum
Louis Yako
20 Postcard Notes From Iraq: With Love in the Age of COVID-19
Patrick Cockburn
War and Pandemic Journalism: the Truth Can Disappear Fast
Eve Ottenberg
Fixing the COVID Numbers
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Every Which Way to Lose
Paul Street
Trump is Not Conceding: This is Happening Here
Robert Hunziker
The World on Fire
Rob Urie
Neoliberal Centrists and the American Left
John Laforge
USAF Vet Could Face ‘20 Days for 20 Bombs’ for Protest Against US H-Bombs Stationed in Germany
Andrew Levine
Clyburn’s Complaint
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail