The Miss America 2018 pageant went to a whole new level with numerous loaded questions about politics.
Miss Texas Margana Wood got a question about President Trump's handling of Charlottesville:
— shauna (@goldengateblond) September 11, 2017
“Last month, a demonstration of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK in Charlottesville, Va. turned violent and a counterprotester was killed,“ judge Jess Cagle said. ”The president said there was shared blame with ‘very fine people’ on both sides. Were there? Tell me yes or no, and explain.”
“I think that the white supremacist issue, it was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack,“ Wood replied. ”And I think that President Donald Trump should have made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and making sure all American feel safe in this country, that is the No. 1 issue right now.”
Miss North Dakota Cara Mund was asked about Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.
“One hundred ninety-five countries signed the Paris agreement, in which each country sets nonbinding goals to reduce man-made climate change,“ judge Maria Menounos said. ”The U.S. is withdrawing from the agreement, citing negligible environmental effects and negative economic impact. Good decision? Bad decision? Which is it and why?”
“I do believe it’s a bad decision,” Mund responded. “Once we reject that, we take ourselves out of the negotiation table. And that’s something that we really need to keep in mind. There is evidence that climate change is existing, so whether you believe it or not, we need to be at that table. And I think it’s just a bad decision on behalf of the United States.”
Mund would go on to win the Miss America pageant.
Miss New Jersey, Kaitlyn Schoeffel, was asked about her view of the confederate statue controversy.
“A recent poll found slightly over half of Americans favored leaving Confederate statues in place, while others want them removed. Keep them or get rid of them? What’s your vote and why?” asked judge Tara Lipinski.
“I don’t think that the answer is to get rid of these statues,” Schoeffel responded. “I think the answer is to relocate them into museums. Because we are truly defined by our country’s history, and I don’t think it’s something that we need to forget. We need to always remember it and honor our history of America because it truly makes us who we are as Americans. So they should be moved to museums.”
Wow. Then there was the question and answer with Miss Missouri Jennifer Davis.
“There are multiple investigations into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia on the election,” said judge Jordin Sparks. “Well, did they? You’re the jury: guilty or innocent? And please explain your verdict.”
“Right now, I would have to say innocent, because not enough information has been revealed. We are still investigating this and I think we should investigate it to its fullest extent. And if we do find the evidence that they have had collusion with Russia, then they should — the justice system should do their due diligence and they should be punished accordingly.”
Overall, the contestants' answers were representative of the divided nation we live in. Ultimately, the Miss America crown was awarded to Miss North Dakota Cara Mund, who gave a decidedly negative evaluation to President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.
It is not the first time the Miss America pageant has turned political, however. During the heat of the 2016 election campaign, the crown was given to Miss New York Camille Sims, who took a savvy and undoubtedly veiled jab at then-candidate Donald Trump. When asked about the presidential candidate, she responded:
"I think he’s a bright reminder of how our country needs to come together. If you don’t agree with his message, then you need to decide where you stand on this debate.
As Americans, we need to make sure that we are celebrating all people from all backgrounds."
A fairly impressive attempt at triangulation, but one with political implications, nevertheless.
The politics of recent Miss America winners contrasts with the 2017 Miss USA winner, a scientist who ruffled feathers with her conservative answer on Obamacare. When asked if health care was a “privilege” or a “right,” she replied:
“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” she said. “As a government employee, I’m granted health care. And I see firsthand that for one, to have health care, you need to have jobs, so therefore we need to continue to cultivate this environment so that we’re given the opportunities to have health care as well as jobs for all Americans worldwide.”
Miss America 2018 nonetheless astonished many viewers with just how political the questions were:
#MissAmerica stick with beauty and stay out of politics.
— deLisa brand (@deLisabrand) September 11, 2017
The five minutes I watched was all about politics. Shame on judges. Stop it!!!! #MissAmerica
— Mette Olsen (@MetteJansen) September 11, 2017
Politics in #MissAmerica pageant.R U freakin' kidding me?
Thk U #thomasrett 4 bringing us back 2 reality.Boycotting if this crap continues.
— 33bluewife (@33bluewife) September 11, 2017
— Taylor Hill (@T_Hillll) September 11, 2017
#MissAmerica Very disappointing. Shame on Disney, Miss America for polluting contest with politics. MA is not a government official.
— Mine Gurgun (@GurgunMine) September 11, 2017
Why is every question on #missuniverse about US Politics/ Trump? This isn't Miss America and it's a double edged sword for them to answer
— Rachel ✨ (@rachel_lampkins) January 30, 2017
Miss America, you have completely lost me. I'm truly disgusted. There is no room for biased politics in a pageant. @MissAmericaOrg
— Laura Hutcheon (@LauraHutcheon) September 11, 2017
These weren't even tweets defending Donald Trump, but rather complaining about the politicization of the Miss America pageant.
The Miss America pageant organizers and ABC News, which is owned by the Disney Corp., must know that politics is a turn-off for the viewers.
The pageant chooses to push politics, anyway. It speaks volumes about its priorities.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.