When it comes to covering politics, the media likes to highlight who the “rising stars” are – people of prominence that just won an election and seem charismatic enough to fit the profile. Sometimes, they get it right and these rising stars are people who move on to great things. A prime example was then State Senator Barack Obama of Illinois who suddenly became a US Senator of that state and went on to win the presidency in just a few years. Sometimes they’re just someone who looks good asking questions during a committee hearing – or never goes beyond winning a congressional race. The thing is, the ones who go on to do great things are pretty much exclusively Democrats – so the media feels a need to play fair and try to highlight what the GOP has to offer. This is how we got flattering portraits of Paul Ryan – who was really just a bright young face offering more of the same disastrous policies Republicans have pushed since the Great Depression. The same was true of Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin, who both had their time in the media spotlight.
All too often, anyone the media highlights as the next big thing to come from the Republican Party, ends up imploding within the next two years. Sometimes it’s almost immediately after they’re profiled – as was the case with Governor Palin. Even before the 2020 presidential election heated up – people talked about who Republicans would run after the former guy left office. There was a lot of buzz about Josh Hawley who had just taken Claire McCaskill’s Senate seat as the next big thing.
Unfortunately, Hawley made a household name for himself in not the best way – with the picture of him inciting the Jan 6 mob and things have only gotten worse with the image of Hawley fleeing the crowd. Looking weak is the one sin the GOP doesn’t forgive, nor do their voters. It’s even worse that Hawley is now claiming that he stands by how he felt that day. He might win re-election in 2024, but his prospects of there being anything bigger than the Senate have died – right along with any leeway the media was ready to give him as a conservative rising star.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making