On and off the campaign trail
Hollywood has already given Hillary Clinton money, but now it hopes to deliver her votes.
A number of actors have taken to the campaign trail and the Internet to give the in-kind donation of their fame to get out the vote for the Democratic nominee. Actors who have appeared on politically-themed shows are especially popular in election season, in part because they seem more credible, like those TV doctors in the ad campaign for Cigna.
Members of the cast of The West Wing, which went off the air in 2006, will campaign together in Ohio this weekend, while Scandal stars Bellamy Young and Tony Goldwyn have hit the trail in Virginia. Tim Daly, who plays the husband of a fictional Secretary of State on Madam Secretary, one of Clinton’s favorite shows, stumped in Ohio, as will Sally Field, who won an Oscar portraying a union organizer.
Others have contributed without leaving home. Comedian Zach Galifianakis hosted Clinton on his popular online show Between Two Ferns, while director Joss Whedon assembled a group of political avengers, including Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. and perennial get-out-the-vote champion Scarlett Johansson for a web video. (TV impresario Shonda Rhimes pulled together a similar all-star lineup for a video earlier this year.)
Republican nominee Donald Trump does not have a similar celebrity surrogate effort in place, though as a former star of The Apprentice and various national commercials over the years, he is a media celebrity in his own right.
Researchers at Washington State University found that celebrity endorsements can help engage younger voters, who tend to vote at lower rates. They also help get local news coverage, which is a valuable way to keep the campaign in front of swing-state voters who might not be paying attention.