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:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
Kathleen Wallace
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Andrew Levine
Get Trump First, But Then…
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton
Ipek S. Burnett
The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer
Michael Welton
Fundamentalism as Speechlessness
David Rosen
A Century of Prohibition
Nino Pagliccia
Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People
Dave Lindorff
When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role
John Grant
Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America
Clark T. Scott
Bolivia and the Loud Silence
Manuel García, Jr.
The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming
Ramzy Baroud
A Lesson for the Palestinian Leadership: Real Reasons behind Israel’s Arrest and Release of Labadi, Mi’ri
Charles McKelvey
The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds
Louis Proyect
Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend
John W. Whitehead
Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
Patrick Bond
As Brazil’s ex-President Lula is Set Free and BRICS Leaders Summit, What Lessons From the Workers Party for Fighting Global Neoliberalism?
Alexandra Early
Labor Opponents of Single Payer Don’t  Speak For Low Wage Union Members
Pete Dolack
Resisting Misleading Narratives About Pacifica Radio
Edward Hunt
It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Why Aren’t Americans Rising up Like the People of Chile and Lebanon?
Nicolas Lalaguna
Voting on the Future of Life on Earth
Jill Richardson
The EPA’s War on Science Continues
Lawrence Davidson
The Problem of Localized Ethics
Richard Hardigan
Europe’s Shameful Treatment of Refugees: Fire in Greek Camp Highlights Appalling Conditions
Judith Deutsch
Permanent War: the Drive to Emasculate
David Swanson
Why War Deaths Increase After Wars
Raouf Halaby
94 Well-Lived Years and the $27 Traffic Fine
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Coups-for-Green-Energy Added to Wars-For-Oil
Andrea Flynn
What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Health Care
Negin Owliaei
Time for a Billionaire Ban
Binoy Kampmark
Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition
Bernard Marszalek
Toward a Counterculture of Rebellion
Brian Horejsi
The Benefits of Environmental Citizenship
Brian Cloughley
All That Gunsmoke
Graham Peebles
Why is there so Much Wrong in Our Society?
Jonah Raskin
Black, Blue, Jazzy and Beat Down to His Bones: Being Bob Kaufman
John Kendall Hawkins
Treason as a Lifestyle: I’ll Drink to That
Ben Terrall
The Rise of Silicon Valley
November 14, 2019
Laura Carlsen
Mexico’s LeBaron Massacre and the War That Will Not Cease
Joe Emersberger
Oppose the Military Coup in Bolivia. Spare Us Your “Critiques”
Ron Jacobs
Trump’s Drug Deal Goes to Congress: Impeachment, Day One
Paul Edwards
Peak Hubris
Tamara Pearson
US and Corporations Key Factors Behind Most Violent Year Yet in Mexico
Jonah Raskin
Love and Death in the Age of Revolution
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail