Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a busy guy. He has released no fewer than two movies per year annually dating back to 2015; that includes the cinematic adaptation of Baywatch, which opens today. He stars in Ballers, one of the most popular programs on HBO. He’s a fixture on Instagram and Twitter, not to mention talk and awards shows. He runs a production company.
He somehow carves out time to work out in keeping that famous physique of his on point. He and longtime girlfriend Lauren Hashian recently had a child. The dude even returns to his roots and pops up on World Wrestling Entertainment programming from time to time.
Point being, how The Rock (and to many, he’ll always be The Rock) balances his workload on the daily is a mystery unto itself. Judging from magazine articles, social media and various television appearances, Johnson truly appears to love what he does, which certainly explains why he’s able to tackle so many tasks with boundless energy and limitless enthusiasm. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s the biggest movie star on the planet, one with a near universal approval rating. He was, after all, the world’s highest-paid actor last year with more than $60 million in earnings.
So, yeah, it’s pretty good to be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And yet he has expressed interest in charting a new career path altogether. Yes, The Rock hasn’t exactly distanced himself from the notion that he will run for President of the United States in 2020. He’s even got his own slogan ready to go.
“I think more poise, less noise,” Johnson told Jimmy Fallon during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show.
He followed that up by outright announcing his Presidential plans while hosting the season finale of Saturday Night Live last week. He even found someone with an approval rating on par with his – American treasure Tom Hanks – to serve as his running mate. A sign unspooled from the ceiling; balloons rained down. Johnson/Hanks in 2020? Sure, why not.
Now, it’s highly unlikely Johnson will actually run for President. Sure, Donald Trump famously made waves by announcing his intent to run for the nation’s highest office, then somehow not only ran but won the damn thing. Such an unlikely win by a celebrity opened the floodgates for other celebrities – particularly likable ones like Johnson – to field questions about their prospects for a similar voyage.
But why exactly would Johnson take a pay cut to take on such a stressful job? More important, why would he risk his flawless Q score to run for an office that would no doubt lower his approval rating by half, no matter which party he opts to back? As Michael Jordan, arguably the most popular athlete in American history, once said regarding his avoidance of all things politics and social commentary – “Republicans buy shoes too.”
Johnson gets this. This is a man who somehow manages to appeal to professional wrestling fans (a predominantly working-class, conservative lot) and Hollywood elite (who tend to be neither working-class nor conservative) all the same. Why risk all that for a Presidential run that very well might not work out anyway?
Truth be told, with Baywatch getting scorched by critics, and in the quest to keep his box-office hot streak alive, Johnson is simply keeping his name in the conversation in an attempt to sell movie tickets. It will likely work – Baywatch, despite an R rating, is tracking for $30-plus million over the Memorial Day weekend – and it’s hard to blame Johnson for doing so. His job is, after all, to move product and put asses in the seats.
So, no, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not running for President. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t at least consider doing so.
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Politics aside, Donald Trump proved that charisma and the ability to connect with folks via the spoken word go a long way in cementing one’s status as a legitimate political force. Considering The Rock possesses the charisma of ten movie stars, with some to spare, this certainly plays into his favor. Need proof? Look no further than the industry from which his star was born.
Professional wrestling is a little like politics, in that success isn’t determined solely by experience or merit. And whereas certain politicians have quickly risen through the ranks despite a lack of experience, the same can be said for a number of “sports entertainers.” The Rock certainly fit this bill. He wasn’t the most technically gifted performer in WWE, nor was he the most experienced. However, his inherent charisma – coupled with some of the best promos ever delivered in the company – quickly vaulted him to the top of the card. He was at or near the top of the WWE food chain from the get-go.
Hell, the same can be said for Johnson’s career in movies. This is not a man who rose through the ranks via bit parts and supporting roles; The Rock’s name was pretty much at the top of the marquee from day one. He’s had his hits and misses (seriously, The Tooth Fairy, dude?), but for the most part, Johnson has remained a commercial force since getting into acting approximately 15 years ago.
How will all this success, charm and charisma translate into Johnson’s potential presidential campaign? Haven’t the slightest idea, not in times like these. But Johnson both looks and acts the part, and sometimes looking and acting the part is about all you need. From the People’s Champ to A-List Movie Star to the White House? Yep, we smell exactly what the Rock is cookin’.