Celebrities overstep into politics

By Chris Grask

Celebrities endorsing political candidates is like oil and water, and yet, in 2018 it is a rampant problem. It is the right of American citizens to support a political candidate, but supporting a candidate because a celebrity said so is ridiculous. Politics and celebrities have crossed path throughout history. This has not been a major issue for some cases however, a populace that supports a political candidate because a celebrity endorsed them is incredibly hive-minded.

Celebrities have crossed over to the political sphere more often than one might think. Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump have both held office with a celebrity backgrounds and actress and Fox News analyst Stacey Dash is running for Congress in California’s 44th district in the upcoming election.

Celebrities running for office isn’t a problem if their ideologies are sound. The big issue is when a celebrity endorses a candidate, opening up the opportunity for those who may not be politically informed to swing the vote.

Taylor Swift spoke out on an Instagram post Oct. 7 in support of Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, and surprised many as Swift has shied away from commenting on political issues in the past. The issue with this is not her political stance or candidate choice, it is the uninformed public who take her word as gospel. Swift has over 114 million Instagram followers to put it in perspective. Voting blindly for a candidate only because a prominent celebrity endorsed them is a disgrace to democracy.

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“I think using celebrities to get votes is an insult,” senior computer science major, Aaron Jones, who is also president of Young Americans for Liberty said. “People shouldn’t be coached into who to vote for.”

Jones said celebrities use their platform to push ideals, and he doesn’t care about what they’re saying. Instead, Jones is focusing on what the candidate stands for.

“Social platform” is a phrase so overused it is hard not to roll one’s eyes at the sight or sound of the wordd. While Jones may be adamant about keeping celebrity endorsements out of politics, it is important to realize the effect the celebrity has on their fan base.

“It is a valuable tool to get the unengaged interested in politics,” junior political science major, Ian Pearson, who is also president of College Democrats said.

Pearson said celebrities endorsing candidates is good, but he cautions of too much stock being put into candidates from such endorsements.

Getting more people interested in the election is a good thing yet, the uninformed who vote in a cult-like fashion is a disgrace to democracy. Celebrities using their platform to get their ideal candidate elected is their constitutional right, but that doesn’t downgrade the issue of uninformed voting.

Furthermore, the issue of uninformed voting can swing elections based on celebrities alone. If Bredesen wins in Tennessee by a landslide vote, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more celebrities endorsing candidates. With that theory comes a potentially dark future where celebrities are paid off to support a candidate. Students need to educate themselves on the candidates and avoid following celebrities blindly.