Celebrity activism in politics at its highest in decades

Hollywood, music industry play large role for young voters

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Celebrity endorsement can drive publicity for candidates, especially with young voters who pay more attention to what famous singers say than to what politicians say.

Earlier this month, Taylor Swift, known for being coy regarding politics, used her Instagram to speak out about her political views, and urge her followers to political action.

“I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love,” said Swift of

Tennessee Senate Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn.

She then urged eligible voters to register, saying, “we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway,” appealing to the new wave of young voters who have turned 18 since the last election.

Swift’s post has been successful in increasing likely voter turnout among her fans, and according to CNBC, it could cause a large ripple in this year’s election.

As of Oct. 1, a record-breaking 800,000 people have registered to vote, according to Time. Most of these came from National Voter Registration Day in September.

Senior Katherine Hillesland said it’s a good thing if “celebrities use their platform for promoting what they think is right,” given the publicity such statements receive.

While the increase in voter registration is evident, there also seems to be a different dynamic at play with celebrity political beliefs and how much celebrities should use their platforms as singers, actors, athletes, or otherwise to discuss their political beliefs.

Senior Grace Lee said, “They have as much a right as anyone, though they should be a little more careful because they have such a large audience.”

Lee emphasized that when people share their perspectives in positions of fame or publicity, “they have to “research what they say, because people will hold it up to scrutiny.”

“I don’t think it would influence my political views, but for people who aren’t as educated about politics, it maybe would, especially if that’s the only thing they’re seeing,” said Hillesland.

Others believe celebrities shouldn’t speak out on topics outside of their areas of expertise.

On Oct. 6, SNL comedian Pete Davidson said of Kanye, “he’s a genius, but a musical genius. Like Joey Chestnut is a hot dog-eating genius, but I don’t want to hear Joey Chestnut’s opinions about things that aren’t hot dog-related.”

“When a celebrity decides to become politicized, it opens them up to criticism,” said Junior Lindsay Falk.

“The partisan divide discourages people from becoming involved in politics because the polarization minimizes the importance of opinions which is detrimental to participation in democracy in the future,” said Falk.

According to the Washington Post, “Trump likes to say that West has bolstered the president’s support among black voters, but there’s not really any evidence to that effect.”

It’s clear that celebrity opinions make waves, but whether it truly makes a difference in the voting population is yet to be seen, as elections are not until November, but headlines state that voter registration has surged as celebrities support voting.

Social media have been critiqued for how they’ve affected our consumption of news, but it seems twitter has been used as a platform to increase voter registration. Paying attention to celebrities may be one way to get the younger population involved in political activism.

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