As celebrities increasingly take over the role of “model” in magazines, on covers, and in commercials, it seems they can sell us anything—except a leader.
Hilary had a lot of love from the stars this election, from Lady Gaga, who protested Trump Tower in New York as the results were coming in, to Katy Perry, who dressed up as the Presidential candidate on Halloween, to Beyonce and Jay Z, who threw a benefit concert for her. “Who will you vote for?” became an essential interview question on red carpets and talk shows, and value was placed on who could nab the biggest names. The Republican national convention was even mocked for its noticeable lack of relevant celebrities.
It’s unclear (to this writer, at least) as to why anyone thought that celebrity endorsements might actually influence decision. Is it because we are, again, so used to them selling us this, that, and the other, that of course they have pull? Turns out, Instagram followers do not equate to blind followers of thought. Human beings have the ability to both enjoy the work of a comedian, singer, or actor, and still fundamentally disagree with their politics.
But if history has taught us anything (and it always does. Always pay attention to history, kids) celebrities have little influence when it comes to voting. Recall the efforts of “Vote or Die” for the 2004 election, in which numerous celebrities (led by Puff Daddy) came out in support of the Democratic nominee, John Kerry. Or rather, against President Bush. It seemed like a huge turning point of stars getting involved in reaching voters. More overtly, in 2008, when Proposition 8 was on the ballot in California, an overwhelming number of celebrities came out against the measure that would confine marriage to heterosexual couples. It was startling when it passed.
As the results were digested by most of the country this morning, many online outlets have run stories about celebrities’ reactions on various social platforms. But what do the stars have to say? Celebrity culture is clearly prevalent in America—to the media, that is.
In a strange way, it’s illuminating to know that the general public is not as dazzled by celebrities as it may seem. People really do make decisions based on what they want. The downside is that our heroes, whom we look up to in movies that consistently reinforce the message that good triumphs over evil, and that the bully’s never win, can’t convince us of the same in real life.