Do you remember McCain’s attack ads that likened Obama to Paris Hilton or Britney Spears? Or the one that implied Obama had a messiah complex—and included a cameo of the late Charlton Heston as Moses parting the Red Sea? As we described in 2008, these were messages that said the only asset Obama had was celebrity.
Conservatives are still trying to play the clueless celebrity card. In Fox Nation, Steven Crowder said, “What is important is that we remember this: Barack Obama the politician was never elected to office. Barack Obama the celebrity was…He had one thing that no other candidate had and that was his status as a pop-culture icon. That’s his game-changer, his golden ticket and against The Donald, Barack Obama loses the only trump card he’s ever had.”
Do you think Obama won because he was a pop-culture icon, a celebrity? Could The Donald’s celebrity status beat Obama’s? Celebrity can go a long way in America. And a celebrity from outside the political establishment can be the object of wish fulfillment. Forty-three percent of American voters believe that most members of Congress are corrupt, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll. Only 27% disagree. With that level of distrust, an outsider fulfills our wish for someone who is above it all and who can come in to save the day.
Entertainment celebrities have been elected to high office before: Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Franken, and Ronald Reagan. It’s possible that Donald Trump would have a chance, but I doubt it. Yet more than a third of American voters (34%) say they would support Trump over Obama, according to another Rasmussen Reports survey. The president gets 49% in this hypothetical match-up. Among Republicans only, The Donald gets 65%.
Does celebrity sway you when you vote?
How would you vote in a Trump vs. Obama matchup?
(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)