The US presidential elections have the feel of the popular talent competition, America’s Got Talent (AGT).
Like the reality TV show, they are entertaining, emotional and highly competitive, and focus exclusively on the candidates’ talent and character or lack thereof, rather than anything that resembles political substance or agenda.
This is reinforced by the mainstream media’s “horse race journalism”, focusing mainly on the odds, through daily broadcasts of polls throughout.
The elections not only provide cost-free content for corporate media, but the windfall from campaign advertising makes it ever more profitable to treat them like a reality TV drama.
Today, the elections and their coverage are centred almost exclusively on whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden has the character, talent or experience to lead the country in trying times.
Trump insists that it all boils down to leadership, where “talent is more important than experience”.
He reckons, the choice could not be easier between himself, the strong and “stable genius”, and the “weak” and “cognitively challenged” Biden.
And so, in their efforts to anoint Trump the next president/king, the Republicans adopted an elephant and a crown as their 2020 convention logo.
However, it was Biden who had to go through the nomination’s loops and hoops, where like AGT, the gruelling primaries start with smaller auditions on the state level before going national.
While Trump was watching TV or playing golf, Biden was running a serious campaign against 28 other contestants/candidates, the largest number of nominees in recent memory.
And he was able to pull ahead early on, thanks in no small part to his coalition-building and connections within the Democratic Party.
Behind the scenes, party apparatchiks, consultants, and their financial backers, like the judges and producers of AGT, play a major role in vetting the candidates during the primaries, which make up the longest commercial reality TV show on television.