Earlier this week, a guy by the name of Glenn Jacobs won the Republican primary for Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Much like Carroll County, the Republican primary is the "real" election in Knox County, where it has gone red by a fairly significant margin in every presidential election since 1944. So, ostensibly, Jacobs is the next mayor (essentially the county executive) of Knox County. Jacobs' victory has earned him a fair amount of media coverage because he is better known the world over as WWE professional wrestler Kane.

Jacobs isn't the first, nor is he likely to be the last professional wrestler to run for and win political office. Jesse "The Body" Ventura famously ran for and won the governorship of Minnesota back in 1999. And while he never donned spandex and boots, President Donald Trump has a long association with the WWE dating back to when Trump Plaza hosted back-to-back WrestleMania events in the late-1980s, and is a celebrity member of the promotion's Hall of Fame (which also includes latest inductee Kid Rock, Drew Carey and baseball not-Hall-of-Famer Pete Rose, incidentally, inducted by Kane.) And whether serious or not, WWE Champion turned Hollywood box office superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, has hinted about a run for the White House.

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As a long-time fan of the genre (some readers may recall I once wrote a blog about professional wrestling for the Carroll County Times), it's hard not to find some similarities between politics and professional wrestling. Most of it comes down to putting on a good show and getting fans, or voters, to believe in you.

Now, let me address the obvious elephant in the room. Pro wrestling is "fake" at worst and "predetermined" at best. For the most part, the wrestlers know who is going to win and lose before they even make their way into the arena. By no means am I contending that elections are rigged and the winners are predetermined (Then again, I could go on a bit of a tangent about partisan gerrymandering or the Democratic National Committee here …). However, once in office, it's a different story.

Based on the makeup of a certain chamber, it is often pretty easy to determine the outcome of particular pieces of proposed legislation. The key is putting on a good show for your constituents.

For example, the Maryland General Assembly has been dominated by Democrats for years. Even with a Republican in the governor's mansion, the Democrats are going to get political "wins" here more often than not. You could argue that the outcomes are predetermined. If it's something the Dems want, in Maryland, you can bet that they'll end up getting it eventually.

Republican lawmakers will get their share of wins in Maryland, but if the old saying that a politician's number one goal is to get re-elected is true, then the key is putting on a good show and talking a good game. In pro wrestling, the latter is called "cutting a promo" and the idea is to sell the fans the upcoming match and convince them you're going to win, even if you know otherwise.

A pro wrestler who does this well never loses credibility with the fans, no matter how many times they come up short, and will continue to hang around the top of the card, where wrestlers make the most money.

Likewise, a politician who knows he or she is on the losing end of a proposition, must constantly put forward legislation that caters to their base — even if they know it has no chance of passing — and talk a good game about how they voted against the proposals put forward by the opposing party. Do it well, and you can make a career out of being a politician, even if you don't really accomplish much.

In professional wrestling, the best in-ring technicians — those who, in the vernacular of the business, can get a good match out of a broomstick — aren't necessarily the most popular wrestlers who end up in the main event. Consider them the policy wonks of the squared circle; beloved by the most ardent fans but often considered milquetoast by the public at large. There is a place for them on the card, just not at the top. Those spots typically go to the most charismatic performers. If they happen to be pretty good at in-ring stuff, even better.

We see this often with the highest offices in politics. Just look at our last two presidents. Both are epitomes of the term "cult of personality." A charismatic yet wise politician, much like a top pro wrestler, will want to work with the wonks because they know it'll make them look better in the long run in the eyes of the fans.

Finally, while wrestling has long been a battle of good guys (babyfaces) and bad guys (heels), over the last few decades, those lines have become blurred among fans. Who you root for, as a fan, usually has as much to do with whose story — real or "kayfabe" (carny wrestling talk for "fake" or in-storyline) — you can identify with. Likewise, that person becomes the babyface and the opposition is the heel. Your political affiliation will determine which party represents which for the individual.

When it comes to politics, much like pro wrestling, it's not about the results, it's all about the storytelling.



Wayne Carter is the editor of the Carroll County Times. Reach him at wayne.carter@carrollcountytimes.com.

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