Opinion: Celebrities do not belong in politics

Celebrities+are+taking+the+knowledge+and+policies+out+of+politics.

Calista Shohet

Celebrities are taking the knowledge and policies out of politics.

It makes sense that people without a medical license are not allowed to perform surgery. It also makes sense that people without a law degree cannot judge a case. These things make sense because jobs are done best when experts do them, a notion that has defined the workplace since its creation. However, according to many Americans, this fundamental idea does not apply to politics. 

Time and time again, entertainers and other celebrities have entered the perplexing world of politics, swaying public opinions before even evolving their own. Their endorsements for politicians and sometimes even campaigns for themselves have turned what should be decisions of thought and belief into mere popularity contests.

Former President Trump is a stellar example of this. When Trump announced his run for the presidency in 2015, he had no experience in politics. As a wealthy businessman, Trump used his already robust media platform to gain votes instead of promoting his actual policies. This is especially obvious when considering that Trump did not have a strong footing in the Republican Party by the time he was elected president. According to New York City voter records, he was a registered Democrat from Aug. 2001 until Sept. 2009. While the danger of having someone as unqualified as Trump running the country does not always seem evident, his approval rating speaks for itself. When looking at FiveThirtyEight, Trump’s approval rate stays below other presidents’ rates for the majority of the time.

Although Trump is a prime example of what happens when celebrities are given political power, he is far from the only case of this happening. Matthew McConaughey, an actor known well for his roles in Dallas Buyers Club and The Wedding Planner, has recently announced he is considering running for governor of Texas. A recent poll from the University of Texas at Tyler showed that McConaughey would receive 45% of the gubernatorial vote in a hypothetical election. The current governor Republican Greg Abbott would only receive 33%. However, people are not judging McConaughey for his political ideologies, which is shown clearly by the fact that he has not decided which political party to associate himself with.

More celebrities who have impacted politics by Calista Shohet

It’s not only celebrities running for political positions who are detrimental to American politics. Celebrity endorsements can also significantly impact the course of elections, and usually not in the way they are intended to. One distinct instance of this was in 2018 when Taylor Swift showed strong support for Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen in his race for U.S. Senate. Bredesen ended up losing the election by a landslide, suggesting that Swift’s endorsement may have had the opposite effect of what she was aiming for.

The theory that celebrity endorsements have a negative impact on the voters they are trying to reach is further proven by a 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey, which showed 24% of voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate after a celebrity endorsement when only 11% said that they would be more likely to vote for the candidate.

This phenomenon of celebrities getting involved in politics seems to be showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, it seems to be happening more and more as time goes on. So if this is where society is going, I will be spending my time preparing for Justin Beiber’s 2040 presidential campaign. Oh wait, he’s Canadian! I wonder if that will stop anybody!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email