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Biden supporters in Hollywood line up behind him. Will this matter?

Biden supporters in Hollywood line up behind him.  Will this matter?
Biden supporters in Hollywood line up behind him.  Will this matter?

 


WASHINGTON (AP) When Robert De Niro showed up at a Manhattan courthouse decry Donald Trump as his secret trial in New York drew to a close, he sparked a life-imitation art screaming match with a nearby group of the former president's supporters.

You are gangsters! De Nirowho starred in Goodfellas and won an Oscar for The Godfather Part II, shouted at Trump supporters, who responded with obscenities.

There are still plenty more Hollywood storylines to come in the 2024 campaign: Celebrities are lending more and more of their star power to the president Joe Bidenhoping to inspire their fans to vote for him in November and inspire donors to support his re-election efforts.

Saturday, the stars George Clooney And Julia Robert will team up with the former president Barack Obama at a Biden fundraiser in Los Angeles, where the three will be interviewed by the late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. Roberts and Kimmel have already started soliciting donations via text messages for Biden, who is skipping a weekend peace conference on Ukraine who will be held in Switzerland to attend the event.

Director Steven Spielberg is involved in storytelling efforts for the Democratic National Convention in August. Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand And James Taylor all played for Biden donors.

Others who have sent fundraising emails, hosted events, or otherwise provided support include Connie Britton of The White Lotus fame, singer-songwriter Carole Roicreator of Bridgerton Shonda Rhimessinger Christina AguileraThe Equalizer actress Queen Latifah and Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, who appeared in the White House briefing room last month to personally congratulate the president.

What you need to know about the 2024 elections

And, in another instance, the lines between real and imagined life are blurred, during a fundraiser at the veteran actor's home. Michael DouglasBiden, the current president, congratulated the star of the 1996 hit The American President for the success of his fictional administration.

The power of the stars at the polls?

However, not all celebrity fans expect them to be able to determine votes. Rather, they are seen as having the ability to generate enthusiasm that helps energize supporters.

Lexi Underwood, whose credits include the streaming series Little Fires Everywhere, views acting as a contact sport that allows her to interact with audiences and makes her determined to use her influence responsibly. She recently participated in a Students for Biden virtual event and traveled to Nevada to participate in campaign events focused on women's health issues.

I feel very lucky to have some eyes on me, Underwood, 20, said. I feel a real responsibility to make sure that what I post, either that people are informed about things that they weren't informed about before, or that I'm motivating them to get out there and vote.

Biden's campaign says its primary goal is to find authentic, trusted messengers who can promote the president's policy accomplishments and sound the alarm about GOP extremism, which means deploying everyday supporters as well as celebrity supporters. He produced ads featuring a union leader from Pennsylvania, a black entrepreneur from Detroit, and women affected by Texas' strict limits on abortion.

Fai Nelson, a human resources worker who recently attended an event for Vice President Kamala Harris in Prince Georges County, Maryland, said celebrity voices can make a difference if they can reach audiences .

It's about whether the message is relevant, Nelson, 42, said.

Lessons from last time

During the pandemic-era 2020 campaign, Biden's campaign featured celebrities in dozens of virtual events it showed the importance of remaining flexible so stars could present themselves in the most authentic way.

Adrienne Elrod, who served as director of Biden 2020 surrogate strategy and operations, said famous Biden supporters will often present their own ideas on how to help the campaign and what issues they would like to focus on .

And often, I have ideas for them too, she says. This is why there is always a very productive working relationship when we hire these people.

De Niro has played an increasingly important role in Biden's campaign. Before his confrontation with Trump supporters, the actor held a press conference calling the former president a clown. He also attended Biden fundraisers and narrated a campaign ad accusing Trump of snapping after losing the 2020 election.

Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for the former president's campaign, said: “The only people in America who support Joe Biden's failed campaign are elitist Hollywood celebrities, adding that Trump speaks for forgotten men and women of this country.

Trump has his own celebrity roster, which includes musicians Kid Rock and Ted Nugent, UFC CEO Dana White, media personality Caitlyn Jenner and actors Dennis Quaid and Jon Voight, as well as comedian Roseanne Barr.

Elrod said other stars are eager to follow De Niro's lead for Biden, but are waiting until the moment can truly be maximized before getting involved. She brought up 2020, when Bruce Springsteen narrated a Biden ad featuring his song My Hometown just before the election.

I think you'll see more moments like this, where we use these votes strategically and effectively at the time that makes the most sense for us in the campaign, said Elrod, who is a spokesperson for the Biden campaign this cycle.

David Schmid, an English professor at the University at Buffalo who studies popular culture, said celebrities can influence fans' aspirations and what they consume. But their influence on people's voting habits has been really exaggerated, he said.

Such is the case for Alex Dillion, a sophomore at American University in Washington who also attended the Harris event in Maryland. When asked which famous person could influence him politically, Dillion replied: Maybe Obama.

Taylor Swift effect?

Schmid said a celebrity with outsized political influence could be Taylor SwiftWHO sent shockwaves even in the NFL last season. She supported Biden in 2020 and is this time openly courted by the campaign on social media, and even in a press release praising his latest album.

His contact, however, is not a guarantee of victory. In 2018, Swift supported two Democratic candidates from Tennessee who lost. And Schmid said even someone as famous as Swift knows things are polarizing and he doesn't want to take major risks on controversial candidates and issues.

Even though all of Biden's teams work with celebrities, the president is still trying to cultivate the image of someone in tune with everyday people.

During campaign trail in Saginaw, Michiganthe president visited a public golf course and met with community activist Coleman Hurley III and his son.

Celebrities who have everything they want and need may be out of touch, the older Hurley said later in a phone interview.

As for everyday Americans, Hurley added, Biden needs to be able to relate and see where they live…and then have a conversation about some of the different struggles or issues that we, or other Americans, face .

Sources

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