Forget Boxing, the 2012 Election is More Like Professional Wrestling
The same logic holds true in the race between Obama and Romney. All one needs to do is examine the 24 hour news cycle and the media's desperate effort to find a story--any story at all--to keep the public's attention. Alternatively, the pundit classes' obsession with the presidential "horse race" is another example of where the story is the thing, and the narrative will be told in such a way as to produce the illusion of a very competitive race. Consequently, the public will be caught up in the action--and not necessarily the substance (or implications) of what is being discussed.
There are other parallels between boxing and professional wrestling as well.
1. Before the rise of the World Wrestling Federation (now called the WWE), professional wrestling was divided up into various territories. The South, Northeast, Mid Atlantic Texas, Florida, the Northwest, Chicago, the Midwest, and California all had their various wrestling fiefdoms run by individuals or families. Wrestlers would move from place to place, building up their popularity by doing shows, and then if lucky, challenging the regional champion. Eventually, those regional associations were eaten up and collapsed into two large entities. They controlled the stars, put on the big shows, and got the TV time. The smaller, independent promotions were left to fend for themselves and fill out the rest of the market for a niche audience.
The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are the big wrestling companies and territories of contemporary politics.
2. Who has the "book?" This is wrestling-talk for who controls the outcome of the match and plans the storylines. Depending on the era, the booker could be a trusted older wrestler who paid his dues, knows how to tell a story, and can mentor young talent. In other situations, the book was held by the owner. If it is your money on the line, what better way to serve your own interests than to determine the outcomes of your own shows? Vince McMahon is that figure in the WWE. In the now defunct AWA, it was their champion and owner, the legendary Verne Gagne, who came up with the stories and (for a long time) was also their star performer.
In American politics, this matter is a bit more complicated . It is true that the big money interest groups have an outsized influence in what transpires. They help to influence the "storylines" and to shape what is placed on the national agenda. The Super Pacs, and the Koch Brothers for example, are the guys playing politics in the locker room and gaming the system for themselves.
However, the real bookers are those centers of power in American society that always seem to benefit regardless of who is in office. These are the military industrial complex, the financier class, the banksters, and other global plutocrats. All they care about is that the tickets are sold, and that the concessions are purchased because he who holds "the book" is often the owner as well. Regardless of the outcome, they are going to get paid.
3. The talking heads and news analysts "frame" the news for the public. In professional wrestling, there are announcers who favor the villain or "heel." Others talk up "the face" or good guy. And there are commentators who break the rules and wink at the audience by balancing a discussion of a wrestler's in-ring ability and prowess, with a subtle concession that none of this is in fact "real." In fact, the commentators are being told what to say by the bookers backstage. Just like the referees in the ring, the announcers are all part of an elaborate and highly choreographed show that is designed to win over the audience's emotions.