Hollywood Politics: The Effect of the Stars on the 2008 Presidential Campaign with John McCain and Barack Obama

Hollywood stars always seem to think it’s important to tell the world about their politics and views, whether they are on the right or the left and whether they support Barack Obama or John McCain. Since we’re exposed to it whether or not we want to be, the relevant questions become: 1) What effect do the political views of the stars have? and 2) What effect should the political views of the stars have?

Hollywood Politics Question #1 – What Effect do the Political Views of the Stars Have?

This is a very difficult question to answer. There is a reason that celebrities are paid millions of dollars to endorse products and companies. In that line of thinking, you would imagine that Hollywood endorsements would carry an enormous amount of weight with the general public. However, I’ve not been able to find any research to back that claim. It may be that a celebrity can influence the type of pop that you drink, but not a more important decision like the political future of the United States.

One way that celebrities may affect the Presidential campaign, however, is fundraising. Star power could help when the celebrities throw a fundraising bash that includes all of their ultra-rich friends. Typically, you hear about the fundraising assistance of celebrity democrats like George Clooney, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, etc… However, according to the Washington Times, even John McCain is also getting into the act with a fundraiser set to include John Voight, Robert Duvall, and Jon Cryer. No offense to the latter group, but the serious star power still appears to be on the side of Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Hollywood Politics Question #2 – What Effect Should the Political Views of the Stars Have?

The answer to this question is hopefully, no effect. When it comes down to it, the opinions of the Hollywood stars are no more important than those of you or I. Sure, they are richer and better looking, but they are not necessarily any smarter or better informed, and are subject to the same groupthink mindset that plagues any other collection of people. At the moment, the Hollywood mindset is decidedly left of center (a hugely partisan Barack Obama crowd) with accusations of Republican actors being blackballed for displaying their conservative viewpoints.

Summary

While I don’t think that the Hollywood elite have much effect on the Presidential Election, or politics in general, it is actually entertaining to see which stars line up on which side of the aisle. It’s also fun to listen to their statements regarding politics. Clearly, some of the celebrities are so married to their ideology that they’ll never have an open mind and probably couldn’t even explain the origin of their views if they tried. However, it’s also nice to hear the celebrities who obviously think issues through and are reflexive on their own political viewpoints.

In the end, the celebrities are very much like the friends that we have in everyday life. Some are stubborn and hard-headed, others more open to evaluating the candidates on their issues. But, that is the point. I would not let the views of my friends determine my politics or vote, so why should the Hollywood elite matter?