Kid Rock 2018: The Perfect Candidate For Trump’s America

Because nothing matters anymore
Kid Rock </strong>(AP/Dan Steinberg)&#8221; class=&#8221;aligncenter size-full&#8221; /><strong>Kid Rock </strong>(AP/Dan Steinberg)

Kid Rock (AP/Dan Steinberg)” class=”aligncenter size-full” />Kid Rock (AP/Dan Steinberg)

On July 12, Kid Rock announced his bid for US Senate. And, if you thought that combination of words would only be found on the Onion, welcome to 2017, where political experience is unnecessary and a platform is optional.

For now, the site announcing the candidacy of Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, features a heavily-airbrushed picture of the candidate, links to merchandise, the question “Are you scared?,” and a rotating selection of phrases and quotes, which includes “Welcome to the party,” “I’ll rock the party,” and “Pimp of the nation.”

Despite the nontraditional slogans, Ritchie’s campaign appears to be serious. On Monday, he tweeted out a poll showing him ahead in his home state of Michigan.

Lending more credibility to Ritchie’s aspirations, GOP consultant Dennis Lennox believes he is a lock for the Republican nomination, saying, “Presuming Kid Rock doesn’t get caught in bed with a little boy, or beat up a woman between now and August 2018, he’s going to win the nomination if he gets in.” Sound far-fetched? This past May, Gregory Gianforte was elected to the US House of Representatives even after he was caught on tape physically assaulting a reporter. Though the incident took place before the election, Gianforte still won, enjoying the support of voters like Lyle Moore who said via, “And now the night before the election, what do they do? They bring some outsider in, barges in, causes a scene, and make Gianforte look bad, when it was his fault in the first place.”

In the age of Trump, comments that would have once been considered scandalous are used to appeal to voters and gain their support. Voters tired of what they perceive to be political correctness, social justice warriors, and virtue signaling have found their preferred candidates in men like Gianforte, Ritchie, and Trump whose words and behavior seem more appropriate to a professional wrestling match than politics.

Though Trump claimed he would be so presidential that people would be bored, he has continued his hateful rhetoric throughout his presidency. What was once a simple campaign strategy has taken root as a core characteristic of his leadership style. On Trump’s Twitter, name-calling and tirades against individuals and the media are more common than substantive information about his ideas and policies. On Thursday, for example, he called representative Adam Schiff sleazy in a mid-morning tweet storm.

Still, an attack that should be widely condemned was met with enthusiasm by many of his supporters who enjoy direct access to the president and his unfiltered thoughts.

Based on his campaign website, Ritchie seems to be taking a page from Donald Trump’s playbook and taking advantage of a climate of divisiveness and paranoia. It is hard to imagine a candidate who uses the phrase “Pimp of the nation” being taken seriously in a pre-Trump campaign. Now, a Trumpian brand of crass, anti-intellectual politics that values divisiveness over unity and smash-mouth rhetoric over actual substance.

Already, Ritchie is positioning himself as a man of the people, an outsider who celebrates a mindset that politicians before him have either masked or condemned. Kurt Schlichter wrote on, “No, he didn’t go to some Ivy League snob factory and all he’s got to rely on are attitude, common sense, and a love of actual Americans (especially our troops).”

Though Trump has not maintained his promise to drain the swamp, people liked the idea of an outsider representing them in the White House. Ritchie is riding that wave, counting on the support of those who have rarely seen themselves in a candidate. Trump proudly proclaimed during a Nevada campaign rally, “I love the poorly uneducated,” and already Ritchie’s supporters are creating a dichotomy between “actual Americans” and the educated elite.

Ritchie’s supporters on Twitter have echoed Schlichter’s viewpoint: there are two kinds of Americans. Real Americans like Trump and Ritchie and, by extension, fake Americans:

This brand of patriotism is toxic, characterized by divisiveness and hostility instead of unity, tolerance, and a focus on common values. Trump has sparked more divisiveness and less dignity in politics. Ritchie, counting on a nothing-off-limits, us-against-them climate to win over voters, is the perfect candidate in our new political reality.

News // America / Culture / Donald Trump / Elections / Politics