Why Are So Many Celebrities Thinking of Running for Office?

Oprah, The Rock, Kanye West. Who will be the next celebrity to put their name in the running for POTUS?

The rise of the celebrity politician has been a trend for some time now, but has escalated significantly since the election of the orange-faced, small-handed, Apprentice reality TV host, Donald Trump.

From wrestling to acting to president

Since Trump’s 2016 move into the Oval Office, celebrities have been tossing around their names, hinting that they may or may not enter the race. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Oprah, Kanye West have all been in the tabloids about the possibility of running for president. Along with the likes of Katy Perry, Will Smith, Chris Rock and Ron Perlman, famous people like to think that with their influence and name recognition they can run a country.

From sports and acting to singing and philanthropy, celebrities seem to want to dip their toes in every field they can

So why do so many celebrities suddenly think they can throw their names in the hat?

According to a columnist for the Guardian, Cas Mudde, “the main reason that celebrities are (thinking of) entering politics and that people are (thinking of) voting for them [is]: the lack of attractive options among experienced politicians.” It could be the lack of viable candidates, a blatant opposition to Trump, or just exercising the idea that they could actually become the President of the United States. Has it become a matter of running just because they can?

Fame, money and power

There are definitely some positives to being a celebrity running in an election of any kind. They have name recognition and know how to sell themselves. Fans feel like they know and trust them. With vibrant charisma and loveable personalities, famous people often excel at public speaking and influencing their fans towards their social and political beliefs.

After Oprah’s powerful speech at the Golden Globes this year, many stipulated that she might announce her candidacy.

After Oprah’s powerful speech at the Golden Globes this year, many stipulated that she might announce her candidacy.

They can get millions of dollars donated to the charities of their choice just by tweeting out a link. Just imagine how powerful they must feel and why they believe they could get the votes if they wanted to.

But does someone who’s life focus has been to entertain, understand policy-making, international relations, legislations and the intricate language of imperative legal documents? Probably not. While they might have good ideas, they won’t be able to get legislations passed to back up their promises. That’s not just celebrities either. Most politicians in general struggle to get legislations passed in the US even when the White House and Congress are controlled by the same political party.

An entertaining SNL skit featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Keegan-Michael Key

An entertaining SNL skit featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Keegan-Michael Key

Should celebrities run in elections?

According to a contributor for the Huffington Post, “It’s not enough for the President to be a good student. They need to be able to teach the class.” He is basically saying that being surrounded by experts isn’t enough even if you’re a good public figure. A president or person in leadership should be respectable and intelligent, knowing when to educate others and when to seek out more information.

So, should celebrities be running for Office? In my opinion, no. We need people who have devoted their lives to politics, policy-making, legislations and human rights. Not people who get paid six digits to post on Instagram. I’m all for celebrities backing causes and getting involved by supporting their preferred candidates. But just because fame makes it possible for celebrities to run, doesn’t mean they should.

Jennifer Lawrence announcing a year away from film sets to focus on the organization, Represent.Us, which encourages young people to get more involved in politics.

This isn’t just an American trend either, it’s become an international movement, happening in countries like the Philippines, Australia and Russia, where a reality TV star ran against Putin. While I think celebrities should absolutely get behind causes and be advocates for political and social issues, they should do it by supporting their preferred, qualified political candidate not by applying for a job they are unqualified for.