Professional wrestling is making its mark on politics. The World Wrestling Entertainment boss Vince McMahon and his wife, Linda, have been active in electoral politics and have also been major donors to conservative groups. Terrance Gerin—a long-tenured wrestler known in the WWE ring as Rhyno—is running for office in Michigan. Hulk Hogan has flirted with the idea of running for office, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also seems to be exploring it.
And of course, there’s Donald Trump, who isn’t exactly a wrestler but has a long history with the WWE and does happen to be the first member of the WWE Hall of Fame to secure a party’s nomination for president. But there’s a caveat—Trump isn’t the first member of any wrestling hall of fame to secure a nomination. That honor belongs to Abraham Lincoln, who happened to be a giant and dominant frontier wrestler before all that politics stuff and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1992. The Party of Lincoln seems to have inherited his penchant for the sport, if nothing else.
Jesse Ventura—known in his time in the ring as “The Body”—is the former governor of Minnesota who still stands as the most prominent professional wrestler to successfully enter politics. His new book, Sh*t Politicians Say, is a collection of quotes curated by Ventura, and his disdain for American politicians and parties shines throughout it. Something in his crass and irreverent—sometimes offensive—style seems to speak to why wrestling has had such an influence on politics recently.