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The validity of celebrity endorsements in presidential campaigns

Sophie Misshula | Contributing Writer

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Hillary Clinton, who recently received substantial support from famous director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens J.J Abrams and his wife Kathleen McGrath, has been promoted and financed heavily throughout her campaign by celebrities and well-known figures.

Abrams and McGrath, for instance, donated $500,000 to Clinton’s Super Political Action Committee back in June. Abram’s told The Daily Beast that he was more than willing to donate to a candidate who deserved his support when speaking about his choice to support Clinton.

And Clinton’s nod to Abrams came as no surprise to supporters who attended the Democratic debate in Goffstown, New Hampshire, with her closing statement on Dec. 9 being, “Thank you, goodnight, and may the force be with you.”

Clinton said this the day after Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box office records, grossing a colossal $119.1 million the first day it was released, and since this release, the film has made a total of $544.5 million in the United States alone, reported by CNN.

Abrams has historically been an important contributor to Democratic candidates. In October he hosted an intimate fundraiser for Barack Obama in the living room of his Pacific Palisades home.

The aim of the fundraiser was to raise money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Since then many celebrities have announced their support for Hillary Clinton to the public. The majority of these endorsements were announced via twitter.

The Federalist Papers collected and reported the tweets supporting Hillary. For example, Amy Poehler tweeted a gif of her and Hillary saying “Let’s do this. #Hillary2016 @HillaryClinton.”

Josh Peck, Ariana Grande, Lena Dunham, Ellie Goulding, Jesse Tyler Fergueson, Olivia Wilde and Magic Johnson are some of the many celebrities that have vocalized their support for Clinton on twitter.

Kim Kardashian vouched her support for Clinton via Instagram captioning her picture with #HillaryForPresident.

These endorsements raise questions about the validity of Clinton’s celebrity campaign, especially in the political arena. Does a tweet from a celebrity increase or decrease a candidate’s validity, especially over candidates who instead seek the support of average citizens?

Hillary Clinton is the front runner of the Democratic Party, according to the Huffington Post, with 51.6 percent in the National Polling Average.

Clinton’s main Democratic rival Bernie Sanders follows her with 36 percent of voters, according to the Huffington Post, which may correlate to his lack of celebrity endorsements, especially considering how many celebrities Clinton has accumulated support from since launching her campaign.

Sanders, however, has received endorsements from Will Ferrel, Mark Ruffalo and Danny DeVito to name a few. Interestingly enough, he has received vast amounts of support from young women voters. A USA Today Rock the Poll article found that Sanders holds a 19-point lead over Clinton with Democratic and Independent woman voters ages 18 to 34, which contradicts the early belief that Clinton would garner a majority of the female voters.

This begs the question whose endorsements matter more and which endorsements should be taken seriously? Ultimately, responsible voters, regardless of endorsements from their favorite celebrities, should research each candidate before making the commitment to vote any political figure into office. 

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The validity of celebrity endorsements in presidential campaigns