For years I have not given any time to the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, because it all seemed so cheesy to me. Granted we all have our own favorite television junk food (I’ve been watching General Hospital for almost thirty years); it just hasn’t been a concept that really interested me. That is, until this year. I heard that Kaitlyn, the Bachelorette, had-gasp-slept with one of the contestants, and everybody found out, and it was total drama island. So, I decided to watch, at first because I was curious what the response would be, given so many of the guys have no doubt slept with ladies on their version of the show.
I started watching, and was fascinated–seriously. It’s like a human behavior study/documentary for me. Seeing how people react when put into a strange situation–how often have you had to date someone who is also dating a couple dozen other people?–has been incredibly entertaining. I do have thoughts on the response to Kaitlyn sleeping with Nick; mainly, the men who were outraged likely would’ve been cool with it if she’d slept with them instead, but I digress. What really caught my attention was that I could see parallels between events on The Bachelorette and the current state of the 2016 GOP presidential race. Crazy, right? But they really do mimic each other in a lot of ways. Let’s look at a few:
Both have crowded fields
On the Bachelorette, the first episode is a whirlwind. Frankly, it’s overwhelming. The Bachelorette stands there whilst limo after limo pulls up, each dropping off a potential suitor. Unless you are taking notes, it’s easy to get confused: Wait, is that Ben H. or Ben Z? Ryan M. or Ryan B.? Wait, which guy was from Nashville? Oh, they both are... The same goes in the GOP race, except America is The Bachelorette looking for our perfect match. Week after week, someone new joins the race. At least we know the difference between Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. In fact, we know a little bit about a lot of them coming in, which is more than we can say for The Bachelorette. Unfortunately, in both cases, we probably lose some genuinely good people before they even have a chance, thanks to the rules of elimination. On the Bachelorette, she had to send home 5 of the 25 guys the first night, before ever having a date with them. With the GOP race, there are a handful running who may never see the stage at a debate. Per CNN, “Fox News, which is co-sponsoring the debate with Facebook, has said that those on the stage must "place in the top 10 of an average of the five most recent national polls, as recognized by FOX News.” In the graphic shown below, the Washington Post predicts who will make the stage, based on current polling data. Somehow, Santorum is currently edging out the other Rick by 0.1%. Of course, things, could change, but making cuts before the first debate means I may never get to hear as much as I’d like to from some of the candidates, like Carly Fiorina. I’d love to see a female GOP candidate on the debate stage for 2016.
Both have guys who trash the other guy instead of selling themselves
Helloooo, Nick and Shawn! Pull it together! Throughout the season these two have been constantly at odds with each other, which should have been a clue that they would be the final two, because drama sells. It became increasingly annoying to watch Kaitlyn on dates with either guy, because invariably, each would turn the conversation toward trashing the other guy. Which, coincidentally, is how Shawn refers to Nick, as “that other guy”. He won’t say his name at all. Super mature. How do you build a great relationship if you spend all of your time talking smack about somebody else? In a recent interview Kaitlyn was asked how she felt about the guys’ increasingly intense rivalry. She said she felt like, “Yoo hoo guys, remember me?” The guys are supposed to try and win Kaitlyn’s heart which is tough to do if all you can bring are insults.
The same can be said for the GOP race. To win the hearts and minds of voters, we need to hear your actual ideas and plans, not insults and cheap shots directed at your competitors. Tell me what you are going to do for America, and I can decide how I feel about you. Trust me to figure out how I feel about the others on my own. This kind of back-and-forth might draw attention, as it does on the Bachelorette, but it certainly doesn’t help us choose a strong leader for our nation.
We’ve seen it recently between Trump and Perry. Trump has been outspoken in his feelings regarding immigrants from Mexico. Perry has been governor of a border state. Naturally there could be friction, but their Twitter war is a distraction. This past weekend, Perry called on Trump to withdraw, saying that Trump’s harsh words for Sen. John McCain, a veteran and former POW, make him unfit for the position of Commander in Chief. Yoo hoo guys–remember us? The voters? Just give us some details of your plans and let us decide who we like.
Both have the jerks getting picked to continue
On the Bachelorette this season, there were some genuinely nice, sweet guys! First, you have Chris, aka Cupcake. The dentist with heart of gold. He was ever the nice, funny gentleman. We loved him, and she told him how amazing he was–right before she sent him packing. Then we have the Bens. Ben Z. and Ben H. were so sweet, and kind, and caring–Kaitlyn gushed over them both. Ben H. made it to the final three, and she commented on how nice it was to just enjoy herself with Ben–as opposed to her time with Nick and Shawn, who were constantly dogging on each other. Even when she eliminated Ben, she did so through tears, noting, “I don’t have one bad thing to say about him. Not one thing.” Um….then why did you send him home?? She’s left with Nick and Shawn, two guys who have been immature and insecure. I’d like to think America is wiser than the Bachelorette, but a recent poll shows Trump and Jeb Bush at the top of the list. How? Who seriously wants Bush 3.0 or Trump in the White House? I almost wonder if Democrats aren’t having some fun answering these poll questions just to drive me crazy.
Both have outspoken jackwagons who are in it for themselves.
Ian, Ian, Ian. What can be said about Ian that he hasn’t already said himself? Here’s an actual quote: "Against all of my logic, Kaitlyn doesn't want someone like me, and it's just making me look bad trying. … If one of these lames is better than me, just pick one of the lames. Like, I bring so much more to the table than these guys. Good job, charming, brains, looks … if that wasn't impressive enough then I don't know what else is impressive here." Just change “lames” to “losers” and you have Trump, who has never met an insult he didn’t like, and who told CNN in an interview, “People love me. I’m incredibly successful. Everybody loves me.”
Ian left the show midway through the season, claiming he was too good for it, while also dropping massive, non-subtle hints that he would *totally* be the ideal guy for the next season of the Bachelor, because he’s smart, funny, handsome, successful, and the ladies love him–except for the one on this show, of course. Despite his protestations, it was pretty obvious to viewers that Ian was leaving because he was going to be eliminated anyway, and he wanted to be viewed as the dumper, not the dumpee. I predict Trump will do the same. In a matter of weeks, or months, once he feels he’s wrung the maximum amount of attention and self-promotion possible from his campaign, he will come up with some reason to walk away. Maybe Melania will get pregnant, maybe he will have to focus on a new television show or other venture that will be, according to him, “yuge”.
Both aren’t really reality–we get sound bites but don’t know the whole story.
Honestly I feel badly for some of the Bachelorette contestants, because they have to go home and watch the show along with us. They know what really happened during the season, while we get the show as edited/skewed by the network to draw in viewers. I’m sure every rose ceremony couldn’t be “the most dramatic ever” without some editorial tweaking. Contestants like Joshua came out of the gate strong, but over the course of the show, became aggressive, or boorish, or condescending. I have to wonder, is that really how they are as a person? We all have moments of weakness, but we don’t have production teams looking to edit together our words to make us look crazy, or rude, or arrogant. I’m sure more than a few guys have shouted at their televisions, “That’s not what I said!” or “Wait, you left out his side of the conversation!” We are shown what the show wants us to see.
The same can be true of the GOP race. Depending on where you get your news, you may only be seeing the side of a candidate that the network wants you to see. Even in interviews, look at how questions are phrased. Are they really questions, or are they statements/accusations? Rick Perry recently flipped a “gotcha” question back onto MSNBC’s Mark Halperin. Candidates need to do this more often–take charge of the conversation so that their own views and ideas are presented, not those of the media. Similarly, we as the voters need to do our own research. Instead of embracing a candidate because he yells the loudest or because we’re told he has the best polling numbers/chance of winning, let’s look deeper than surface level to figure out who we want to give the final rose in 2016.