Was Hollywood's Thumb on the Election Day Scale?

Written by PTC | Published November 10, 2016

3HW Did the entertainment industry influence the outcome of the election? Leading up to this year’s presidential election, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sought celebrity endorsements. A fascinating article by The Wrap’s Matt Donnelly and Sharon Waxman examines this practice and discusses its effectiveness as an election tactic – and the influence it may have had on voters: Hollywood reeled on Tuesday with the knowledge that the electorate not only rejected Hillary Clinton by electing Donald Trump, but rejected the entertainment elite. Celebrities from Robert De Niro to Lena Dunham to Katy Perry to Bruce Springsteen gave their time, fame, talent and social platforms to the cause of electing Clinton. But she lost soundly despite appearing on the New York Times cover this weekend with Jay-Z and Beyonce, and despite wrapping up her campaign with a final boost from Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. It was impossible to read the verdict of a Donald Trump win as anything but a brutal rejection of Hollywood’s values and supposed influence. “What is remarkable is that everyone believed Hollywood had a lot of power with these things,” said a shellshocked Janet Montgomery, star of the NBC hit This Is Us. “With so many celebrities saying #I’mWithHer, and huge stars doing concerts, they worked really hard and it’s not made any difference. That’s been shocking. It shows that people have problem with elitists.” Performers who stumped for Clinton were only part of the anti-Trump arsenal. The entire spectrum of late-night hosts fed off of mocking Trump week after week, month after month. For broadcast late night hosts like Stephen Colbert, the anti-Trump drumbeat may have backfired among his middle America viewers. Other talk show hosts like Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee and Chelsea Handler took direct aim at Trump, both mocking his candidacy and criticizing his treatment of women, minorities and the disabled. Trump used his lack of celebrity suppport to his advantage, suggesting that he was in touch with real Americans. “People like Jay-Z and Beyonce and Miley Cyrus wound up feeding the narrative Trump was building, one against that idea of elitism,” said Rajiv Menon, cultural analyst and media firm Civic Entertainment. “This celebrity element felt like a negative to his voter base.” Read the full article here. The PTC is eager to hear your opinion of this article. Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Take Action. Stay Informed.