Celebrity politicians. They aren’t new. Before Kid Rock scared us… we mean, excited us by posting a website suggesting he plans to rock the political arena. Before philandering real estate mogul Donald Trump decided to get revenge on No. 44 Barack Obama… we mean, decided to run for U.S. president. Even before Arnold Schwarzenegger pouted that he was governor but he isn’t eligible to run for the highest office in the nation because he is not a naturalized citizen.
Celebrity politicians can be mocked (take the hint, Kanye 2020) like, well, reality TV star and current POTUS Trump. Celebs who jump into the muck of politics can be highly anticipated candidates, like Dallas Mavericks owner and investor on the TV show Shark Tank Mark Cuban. There are some celebrity politicians, like the late Law and Order favorite Fred Thompson, who just look and sound perfect for the role. And there are jokers like comedian Al Franken who have a serious side.
Celebrity status, depending on why you’re famous, can help or hurt a star’s chances. The public has an image of the actor from the small screen, the silver screen or stage, which might be a juxtaposition, but as far as we know, Schwarzenegger put aside his cyborg assassin identity and did not kill Sarah Connor while serving the Eureka! state.
Politicians at a higher level are typically polished and know how to think on their feet. Celebs getting into the political game also have the advantage of charisma, stage presence, branding, social media and recognition. And, as we saw in the 2016 election, celebrities offer the disenfranchised or fragmented groups an alternative to the same-old-beltway politician.
Hell, Jesse Ventura scored the Reform Party a major seat at the political table. His star power from his wrestling days might have helped.