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Political Star Power: Celebrity endorsements in politics

Recently in the U.S. the presidential election has been the topic of discussion.

Voting in the election was important to a lot of people including celebrities. Many public figures made political endorsements leading up to the 2020 election.

Celebrities promoted registering to vote as well. In August, David Dobrik put on the largest voter registration drive. He worked with Headcount.org and gave away 5 Tesla 3 models. According to Forbes this giveaway led 100,000 people to register in the first 24 hours, by the end of the giveaway 120,000 people registered to vote.

These people may have registered on their own, but the incentive of an expensive car from a social media influencer may have been the true reason many of those people registered.

Why do celebrities have such an impact on politics? According to the U.S. election analysis 2016 celebrities grab and hold consumer attention, and people consider celebrities to be more credible and trustworthy than politicians.

Celebrities often use “we” when relating themselves to typical citizens. Some people see this as humbling and comforting knowing celebrities have the same feelings and thoughts as them.

However, others see that celebrities have certain privileges because of their fame and wealth. This can make some celebrities ineffective when attempting to be political. Some attempts to encourage people to vote are seen as empty gestures.

In this technologically run society, it is rare to find someone without some form of social media.

According to Nora Gilbert from vote.org “This year, millennials and Gen Z are making up 37 percent of the electorate, and [they’ve] traditionally been some of the lowest-turnout age groups,” she said. “We want to make sure that all of those eligible voters show up. We want to make sure that we are reaching voters where they are, with messengers they trust and look up to and whose influence they will follow.”

When Kylie Jenner put a link to Vote.org registration in her Instagram bio, visits to the webpage went up dramatically.

In the 2016 election, Trump was not seen as political but as a celebrity because of his reality show. This image he had already established as a public figure followed him through his campaign. It is debated whether his influence as a celebrity himself had an impact with the election results.

Both presidential candidates in the 2020 election are known politicians: One being the current president and the other being a former vice president.

They both have established some sort of image for their campaign long before it started. Preconceived views towards the candidates this election had a lot of celebrity attention, including those who do not live in the United States.

Social media is a huge part of many possible voters’ lives, and celebrities played the field trying to promote voting for this past election. It cannot be definitively said if those endorsements were the reason for the election results, but the constant exposure to celebrity opinion cannot be seen as an ineffective tool for political candidates.

Written by Gwen Friedman, Assistant Social Media Editor. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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