He had already known how to spend almost without warning from a mocked but very profitable career of poster boy giving himself, chest hair more than in his turn, in machined rom-coms, to that of an actor with one of the most popular aura of the Hollywood landscape. And, at 52, Matthew McConaughey seemed to be busy preparing the public for a new moult, arguably more radical and even more risky than his famous solo Amazon hike on ecstasy. A bet that would have led him to campaign in 2022 for the post of governor of Texas, that is to say the state which saw him be born, grow, reveal himself in sensation indie in Dazed and Confused by Richard Linklater in 1993, wearing a high local accent in Oscar films twenty years later, but also, in the meantime, being arrested by the police playing bongos, bare ass, one evening of victory from the local soccer team. Among others.
For at least a year, the actor ofInterstellar, Magic Mike and Mud made no secret of this itching. The American press reported on his consultations with local political leaders as well as potential full-pocketed donors. He had even spontaneously seen a few polls that were about as flattering as they were dubious, which predicted a credible pretender score against outgoing Republican and ultra-conservative Greg Abbott. It remained to be seen, however, how long this capital, built on its glam notoriety and local love rating, would have stood the test of a campaign marathon, presumably riddled with wolf traps at every turn, especially if it had, as his remarks suggested, freed himself from the traditional etiquette of the Democratic and Republican parties in order to become independent and “Candidate of the outlaws”. “It is a possible path”, he still assured in early November during an interview with AFP from his ranch in Austin. “Where and how can I be of most use? I am not afraid to take risks. But I really need to answer this question ”. It seems the answer, in the short term, is, “No, don’t push it, not like that.”
Fall down the shirt
The main interested party announced it on Sunday evening, in a video posted on his Instagram account to 5.8 million followers, immediately picked up by the major American news channels. Thanks to a staging yet more imbued with political formality than ever, the hair well combed against the background of stacks of books framed by the flags of the United States and the United States. Lone Star State, McConaughey says he considered the issue, studied its implications thoroughly, learned a lot in the process, and ultimately resolved not to go – at least this time.
The three minutes of his statement, released fifteen days before the deadline for applications, say in substance this: “I have studied the politics of Texas and the United States a lot, and what did I take away from it? That we have problems, that we have to solve. That our policies must find new objectives. That there are divisions that we must heal. That we need to reconnect with confidence in our lives, to reconcile ourselves around common values that transcend parties, to rebuild bridges rather than burn them down. […] When I was just a kid in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, it never occurred to me to ever be considered for political office. It is a lesson in humility and a rich inspiration to consider this path. And it is also a path that I choose not to take for the moment. ”
If the ideas he would have promoted as a candidate remain at the very least gaseous in this speech, the tone is meant to be sober, reasoned, imbued with a seriousness commensurate with the decay of an American political life with more polarities. irreconcilable than ever after Donald Trump’s tenure and his never-admitted defeat. Above all, it no longer has much to do with that of the autobiography published last year, recently translated into French, which resembled a profession of faith rich in aphorisms with great potential for campaign slogans. (“The truth only hurts when you lie”, this genre), as well as the account of superlative and probably unverifiable anecdotes about his childhood, his parents divorced and remarried three times (but exclusively together), their propensity to stick donuts and / or copulate in front of the kids, his exits from the roads and debauchery years at the Château Marmont … Or the chances and the necessities that led the young Matthew to become an indie and promising actor, then starified, extremely wealthy, but mocked for his inclination to drop his shirt into inane comedies (according to the very precise count of a study, yet he would only be the third most willing American actor shirtless), and finally revered, statuified, Oscar winner – alas, and very predictably, for one of his most caricatured scores, in Dallas Buyers Club by Jean-Marc Vallée, in 2013.
By making the choice, still according to him, to stick for the time being to the sponsorship of entrepreneurs and his charitable commitments (he had notably raised millions for the benefit of the victims of the cold wave that hit Texas l ‘last winter) rather than following in the footsteps of actor-turned-governors Reagan and Schwarzenegger, McConaughey is leaving the keys to the arena to professionals in the political profession, which does not bode well. A declared candidate and the main Democratic pretender to rule the second largest state in the country – both in terms of area and population – Beto O’Rourke does not seem to be well equipped to take his seat from incumbent Republican Gregg Abbott.
He can count on a conservative electorate white-hot by his attempts to make Texas regress by half a century in terms of the right to abortion (until the Supreme Court decides to rule on the text, it is today almost impossible to obtain an abortion locally). But also on a law, just as controversial but passed in September, aimed at drastically restricting access to suffrage for all kinds of populations rather inclined to the democratic vote. Among which many of these new Texan voters resulting from immigration which upset the demography and the coloring of the historical electorate of the State. Other blows in his ultrareac roadmap, both against trans people and teaching anti-racism in schools, have Abbott being considered one of the favorites to resume. the most ardent torch of Trumpism in the next presidential election, in 2024 – that, of course, only in the uncertain event that Trump should, willingly or by force, not stick to it himself.