Commentary: Professional Wrestling Tactics in Politics

Dr. Terry Smith is a regular commentator on Talking Politics.

When I was a teenager growing up in St. Louis, professional wrestling was a big deal. Old smoke-filled Kiel Auditorium would be packed on Saturday nights and designated heroes and villains would duke it out in the ring, strutting, taunting and cheating. Even as kids we knew it was fake and a show, but that didn’t matter. It was pure primal entertainment. For an actual sporting event, we would go to old Sportsman’s Park to watch the Cardinals.

So when I went to the Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting in Chicago earlier this month and saw that a professor from the University of Texas was reading a paper on professional wrestling and politics, I had a flashback. I made sure I attended that session and am really glad I did.

Professor Shannon O’Brien presented a paper on how President Trump uses the devices of professional wrestling to govern. Trump has a long association with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, formerly World Wrestling Federation) and is…

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