n. A politician who is or was an entertainer; a politician who makes extensive use of entertainment media, particularly during a campaign.
Other Forms
Jesse Ventura was a pro wrestler, then a mayor, then a governor. He now wants to be a talk show host.

Jerry Springer was a mayor, a television anchor, then a talk show host. And his show has more in common with WWF Smackdown than Meet the Press.

Both are famous, populist politicians with a history of outlandish behavior. They are both "politainers."
—Gregory Korte, “Ventura won — could Springer?,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, August 05, 2003
"When you start to be a TV-dominated campaign, you're just another person on TV," Schultz says. "And all these comedy appearances clearly take the dignity away from the office. One quick 'Sock it to me!' or toot on the saxophone is different than making your strategy for running for president to be on as many shows as possible."

Schultz has coined a term — "politainers" — for the TV-obsessed campaigners. Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, a professional wrestler by trade, is the extreme and perfect example of the hybrid.

"Politics has become entertainment, and candidates are appearing on these shows because they want to come across as entertainers, not candidates," Schultz says.
—Diane Holloway, “Where's the presidential beef?,” Austin American-Statesman, November 03, 2000
1999 (earliest)
—David Schultz, “Jesse Ventura and the Brave New World of Politainer Politics,” Hamline University, January 01, 1999
This word is dedicated, of course, to newly minted California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently announced his candidacy — in true politainer style — on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show." Schwarzenegger's campaign is part of the unprecedented recall of current California governor Gray Davis, thus giving new meaning to the title of one of Schwarzenegger's most popular movies, "Total Recall." (Expect to hear that joke a few dozen times in the coming months, as well as lots of people saying "The Governator" in bad Austrian accents.)

This word is blend of politician and entertainer and it was dreamed up by David Schultz, a political science professor at Minnesota's Hamline University and the author of the 2000 book It's Show Time! Media, Politics, and Popular Culture. He's quoted in example citation #2.