Reality television is starting to make an impact on the world of politics. Boston Real World alum Sean Duffy is now in the House of Representatives, and now the obscure, self-effacing Apprentice host Donald Trump is considering a run at the Republican nomination for President. Does he know that changing the name of Washington to Trump City won't be an option?
Trump has made noise about running before, which is why most political experts doubt his intentions this time around. For starters, his pay cut would be huge. But he seems more insistent about his political commentary this time around, and his poll ratings are higher too. Some of you may have noticed that The Donald has a healthy ego, so it's possible that he's convinced himself he can really win the White House, despite drawbacks like multiple marriages, a tendency to exaggerate (example: All those years he went around falsely claiming The Apprentice was the #1 show on television), and having "You're fired!" as a catchphrase in the middle of hard economic times.
But there's the little matter of his day jobs, or one of his day jobs at any rate: Hosting Celebrity Apprentice Sunday nights on NBC. Ratings for the show have been mediocre this season despite a cast that's loonier than ever, so another theory being kicked around is that Trump is out making headlines for the primary purpose of raising the profile of his reality show. The latest rumor is that Trump will use the Celebrity Apprentice season finale on May 22 to tease a subsequent press conference, during which he would reveal his presidential plans once and for all.
Trump's superiors at NBC have been quiet about his detours into punditry, but one wonders how long that can stay the case. Networks will tolerate their prime time stars having political opinions (look at one of NBC's other big names, Alec Baldwin), but when the star in question plays himself on his show, and starts talking about running for office, it raises uncomfortable questions about whether the network is helping to promote a candidacy.
Odds are that Trump will still be dealing with the Grade Z celebs of the world at this time next year, and not hanging out in New Hampshire at Rotary Clubs asking for votes. But it's going to be fun to watch him for the next few weeks.