From The Apprentice to the Democratic Debate
Or how American politics has become a reality show.
During Wednesday and Thursday’s nights, the United States had the opportunity to see the 20 Democratic candidates try to debate the most important issues for the 2020 presidential elections.
The event, sponsored by NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo, randomly distributed the candidates in two groups of 10 and put them on a stage that mixed all the visual elements of a reality show.
As if the crowding of people on the stage was not enough, each podium was lit in red when a candidate was given the chance to present his or her plan on a specific issue, while the moderators tried to keep the time and precise questions straight.
It was a presidential "America's Got Talent."
Since Lyndon B. Johnson challenged John F. Kennedy to a televised debate in the 1960 Democratic primaries, the way to campaign in the United States has changed a lot.
And the media has mutated in tandem.
Two things that politics and television began to have in common since 2000 was the need to entertain the public with several rivals, who took their intricate personal lives to the screen.
"Reality TV was our social media in the 2000s," said Lisa Respers France in her analysis for CNN, highlighting the importance of programs such as "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" in American visual culture.
"Even former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, had her own show, Sarah Palin's Alaska," CNN continues.
Barack Obama’s arrival to the White House intertwined the media and political narratives adding the immediacy of social media to the cocktail.
Today, the president of the United States fires officials and makes decisions on foreign policy through Twitter.
It’s not surprising, then, that the Democratic debates look for a similar language, making each candidate a character that had to demonstrate the ideal survival skills when facing Donald Trump, a man accustomed to cameras and who coined his famous - "You're fired."
If Barack Obama helped us understand that a president can rub shoulders with international politicians and with Beyoncé at the same time, Donald Trump has taken us to the point of not distinguishing between what really happens in the country and what we see through social media.