The battle between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump could split the party with surprising results, argues the author of a new book on Vince McMahon.
You can’t fully understand Donald Trump and the current state of American politics without also understanding Vince McMahon and the history of professional wrestling.
Ringmaster: Vince McMahon and the Unmaking of America, due out Tuesday, is first and foremost a reported biography of the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO. Embedded, though, within Abraham Josephine Riesman’s more than 400 pages based on more than 150 interviews is an analysis, too, of the roots of today’s twisted political climate.
“Wrestling,” writes Riesman, “has metastasized into the broader world, especially since the inauguration of the 45th president. There’s little difference between Trumpism and Vince’s neokayfabe, each with their infinite and indistinguishable layers of irony and sincerity. Each philosophy approaches life with one goal: to remake reality in such a way as to defeat one’s enemies and sate one’s insecurities.”
Perhaps even more apropos, Riesman offers a fresh way to consider current dramas, especially within the Republican Party, including the most compelling conflict — Trump versus Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Many observers of politics tend to think about candidates who are at odds in terms of lanes, but at this point it might be more useful, Riesman suggests, to think in terms of roles: heroes and villains — in industry lingo, faces and heels — and the fluidity of such positioning within the twists and turns of storylines that can see similar combatants giving rise to new contestants and surprising results.