Celebrities and politics: Hollywood and Capitol Hill collide

By: Neil Burger – Staff Writer

During a heated 2016 election season, there was a great deal of outspoken celebrities of all political affiliations weighing in on candidates, policies, and the nation’s democratic process itself. Celebrities have large followings and potential to reach large segments of the nation’s population, whether it’s through television, movies, or social media.

Although their followings are large, celebrities would rarely be considered qualified to talk about politics, given their positions in the entertainment industry. How much influence do celebrities have when speaking out on politics? Should they really be using their wide reach and large audiences to project political messages? To find out, Flyer News asked some students by the Blend Express to weigh in on the subject.

These UD students didn’t feel a celebrity would influence their decision making, whether they liked the celebrity or not. “Celebrities lead vastly different lives compared to any of us. It can be difficult to relate to them when life affects us so differently, as we are confronted by very different problems,” said discover business major, Kayleigh Duke.

When asked if a celebrity has impact on others,  Ellie Jobe, a marketing and international business major,  said, “Although we personally do not feel influenced by what celebrities say about politics, there are a lot of people, young people especially, that look to celebrities they like as role models or at least value their opinions.”

Duke said, “Celebrities influence people some greater than others, but we are a media oriented society making it very easy for celebrities to get their message out to a large amount of people.”

Of the many efforts by celebrities to influence people on politics, the controversial “vote your conscience” video featuring celebrities like Martin Sheen and Bob Odenkirk was arguably the most prominent.

In this short postelection video, multiple celebrities appear asking members of the electoral college to vote with their conscience and vote for someone that was not Donald Trump.

“I think we can agree that celebrities have every right to make their opinions known just like we can, though asking electoral college voters to change their vote goes against the purpose of our democracy,” said KB Pasternock, a discover engineering major, when asked if celebrities should do videos like this. “The voters should support the decision of the people they represent, whether they agree or not with their constituents’ choice.”

Adding to Pasternock, Jobe and Duke agreed and said that although the celebrities in the video asked the voters to vote with their own conscience, they really meant vote against Trump like we want you to.

In the end, all three felt celebrities would be better off staying positive and just voicing support for a candidate instead of speaking derogatively towards other candidates, as it creates unnecessary tension.

Speaking with these lady Flyers, it was clear they would rather make political decisions on their own, rather than listen to what celebrities say they should vote and think.

Although they may not really feel impacted by what celebrities have to say, they certainly acknowledge that celebrities have every right to share their perspectives.

Photo Courtesy of telegraph.co.uk