Every time you turn on the television or see an online ad, a celebrity is endorsing all kinds of products. So, it should be no surprise that in this Presidential Election, celebrities are campaigning for their favorite candidate.
Are these endorsements influential? Yes, sometimes. Should they be? No.
Some argue that there is virtually no effect on voting outcomes, but that doesn’t hold true in all cases.
In 2008, Oprah Winfrey endorsed Barack Obama and a later study published in Journal of Law, Economics & Organization suggested that her endorsement swayed a million voters to vote for him.
So, then, it would seem that celebrities do have an effect on American views. Not a huge surprise, considering every company making an advertisement seems to have figured that out already.
Why else is Jennifer Aniston trying to get me to drink a specific brand of water? Because Smart Water knows that I love “Friends” and I trust Aniston with my life.
The audiences that follow celebrities closely, are not always politically-charged activists. So when someone like Kim Kardashian says that she supports Hillary Clinton, it brings politics to the attention of someone who might not have cared otherwise.
Jennifer Peros from US Weekly has spoken on this, saying, “When you see celebrities come out for political events, it definitely brings a different [demographic].”
This is largely a very positive outcome. Getting people to be active in politics would seem to be a great thing. But, if these people are so readily swayed by the opinion of a celebrity, is it?
Celebrities aren’t the only ones who give endorsements, newspapers give out their endorsements, too. This is significant because people usually place a great amount of trust in the places they get their news from.
The Washington Post endorsed Clinton, saying “[She] has the potential to be an excellent president of the United States, and we endorse her without hesitation.”
This endorsement does two things. It reveals a possible bias of the news source and it can really influence readers who trust The Washington Post.
While these papers and other large companies can’t give donations to campaigns like celebrities can, their vote of confidence in whatever candidate they support is enough to turn the heads of voters, especially undecided ones.
So these endorsements have become a huge part of the campaign process, by getting people that aren’t politically active to care about the election.
But, if you are voting for Clinton because Kanye West swears by her or voting for Donald Trump because Aaron Carter likes him, you shouldn’t vote.
I don’t mean that you shouldn’t have the right to vote; I mean that if you don’t understand the candidate’s position on issues that you care about, or their policy plans, or care enough to look into the facts at all, then stay away from the polls on Nov. 8.
This shouldn’t be a popularity contest; we are deciding the fate of our country.
Voters should go into this decision with the confidence that their choice is based on merit, policy or anything else that is of any actual significance.