Celebrity politics era: Here to stay
The lack of knowledge of policy specifics, or really much else, is no matter.
“Celebrities aren’t equipped to serve in politically representative roles because they generally have no experience being a public servant,” says John Tedesco, a professor of communication at Virginia Tech.
Former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon is running for governor in New York. Mark Cuban and Dwayne Johnson, among others, have publicly floated ideas of their interest in running for president in 2020.
The appeal to voters: familiarity.
“Nixon will have a legitimate chance in the New York governor election because she’s a familiar known entity,” says Tedesco. “When voters develop parasocial relationships with celebrities that span many years, they feel that they know the star personally. This makes them feel more comfortable voting for the familiar celebrity as opposed to a politician whom they learn of in a much shorter period of time.”
The difficulty for the celebs, as we’re seeing with Trump, is that simply being famous isn’t a help when it comes to trying to navigate the ins and outs of public policy.
“The constant process of negotiating in politics is unnatural to them because they’re used to putting out a single product, like an album or movie, which succeeds or fails over time as they step away from it. Celebrities never face opposition in their normal life like they would in politics. They’re simply not prepared for the constant, active process of negotiation which our political system requires,” Tedesco says.