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The problem with celebrity politicians

By Kevin Zhang Sep. 22, 2021

Dana Lim Art

As celebrities grow in fame and popularity, they start appearing in not only entertainment but also in politics. In the past, several celebrities have held public offices: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Ventura and Clint Eastwood. Furthermore, people of fame are often rumored to be potential candidates like that of Matthew McConaughey and Kanye West. However, many citizens are concerned that celebrities may not be qualified for these positions, and, if they lack the experience, may be doing it as a publicity stunt rather than out of genuine concern for the country.

Popular celebrities often possess strong charisma and carry it over into politics, baring traits that give the impression of a leader, something the populace appreciates when voting for a candidate. Consequently, however, voters may overlook another desirable characteristic for candidates: political insight. Although some celebrities have studied law or sociology, the majority have not received formal education in those fields. For example, former Calif. Governor Schwarzenegger was a business major, while former President Trump majored in economics. Voters may have difficulty judging celebrities’ stances, since they can be misinformed by incorrect statements about policies. An exception to this would be former actor and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who graduated with a degree in sociology. As president, Reagan achieved two major objectives: improving economic conditions in the U.S. at the time and helping to end the Cold War, evidence that considering one’s educational background is suggested when selecting a candidate.

“Celebrities should not run for president because I feel they are just campaigning for the hype, or just as a joke. Not only that, they divert attention and votes away from more qualified candidates, which could, in the long run, end up compromising an election that affects the entire future of the country,” Sophomore Lori Yang said.

Lack of political experience may lead to serious repercussions, as seen with Schwarzenegger’s actions while in office. According to the Los Angeles Magazine, Schwarzenegger cut billions of dollars allocated for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) prevention, women’s services, healthcare for poor children, drug treatment for pregnant women and rental subsidies for seniors. In addition, he also curbed funding from other public welfare programs to fulfill his budget plan. These miscalculated decisions earned him an approval rating of 22 percent when he left office, proving that a governor without proper education may be a detriment to the country.

Another example of a celebrity running for public office would be former Olympian and TV personality Caitlyn Jenner’s campaign for Governor of California. In April, Jenner announced that she would be running against current Gov. Gavin Newsom. On her campaign website, she stated that under Newsom, there had been failing businesses, loss of livelihoods and a weakening economy. Jenner believed she could outperform Newsom and change what he was unable to by cutting regulations, making housing more affordable and addressing the homelessness crisis. Although these goals sound promising, if done improperly, it could worsen current conditions.

“I do not particularly object to celebrities running for public office. It only becomes a problem if the celebrity-turned politician has poor intentions or an ulterior motive. Under this, if they were to be elected, some may find it illegitimate and that the celebrity won due to their pre-political fame. There does seem to be a common trend of celebrities running for office as opposition candidates to the majority. For the most part, however, celebrity politicians are not very different from any other politician,” Senior Jasper Wu said.

Ultimately, celebrities running for public office can be dangerous if they lack the proper conscience and experience.

To avoid appointing an unqualified candidate, voters should keep in mind that impressive charisma is not the only requirement to be a good leader, but that one also needs the appropriate education.

Moreover, it is important to ensure that the celebrity has the people’s interests at heart, rather than acting from selfish motives.


About the Contributors

Kevin Zhang

Staff Writer

Kevin Zhang is a junior at Leland High School. He is indeed clinically sane, although his actions might occasionally suggest otherwise. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, blood rituals, reading, and watching the sunset.

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