Do celebrity endorsements help Presidential candidates? – 7.18.2007.1

Politics and Hollywood. These 2 go together like white on rice, and are separate like oil and water. It’s something that is a big deal if you have it and not a big issue if you don’t. At least among pundits.

For those that are more Democrat, and/or liberal, Hollywood and the entertainment industry it represents are flag bearers of causes such as the environment or retreating from Iraq. To a smaller extent the more centrist views are held there as well with few (though often powerful) conservative or Republican issues as well. Because of this, and the fact that Hollywood support means large money donations and lots of faces with access to the media touting your candidate, most would enjoy having the top of the Hollywood elite joining their side.

One of the most powerful, Picture found at,0,7926476.storyMs. Oprah Winfrey, is making the most of this. Ms. Winfrey joined others in support of Senator Obama in April. Her public declaration carries a lot of weight in most subjects. A book or movie that can boast her thumbs up can often be assured of success. Now we will see if this translates into the political world as well.

Possibly the first example of that transition may be in an up-coming fund-raiser at Ms. Winfrey’s home. Already invitations have been sent out to various entertainment figures, and there is limited space. Each RSVP includes a $2300 donation to Senator Obama, with dinner and time to get personal for those that get combined donations of $50,000 or more.

It’s a lot of money potentially, and obviously a lot of media attention. It gives pause to the Senator Clinton political machine that had previously held the lead on Hollywood endorsements.

But is that really important? Besides the tons of money that ensures advertisements and fliers, and makes the candidates beholden to the interests of big donors, what else is there? Do people with less than extreme fervor really care if celebrity XYZ likes this politician or the other?

While Ms. Winfrey is a coup for Senator Obama, being the first she has endorsed and is pushing to support, does that really equate to voters? I can see her causing more books to be sold, or a movie to get higher ticket sales, but votes? Do people trust ANY entertainer to tell them who is the best politician, especially when it comes to the Presidency?

It’s an interesting question. One that will soon be found out. There is no doubt that a great deal of attention will be paid to who shows up for this fund-raising event. More than a few celebrities and entertainers will be questioned about their endorsement, both tacit and explicit. But what will it matter?

I wonder if Senator Obama, or Senator Clinton, or even Mr. Rudy Giuliani as examples were endorsed by Snoop Dogg if that would help them or hurt them. Does that change in any manner the quality of the candidate? If it does, why?

This is what I think, what do you think?

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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