Hollywood loves a good story, and this summer’s top one, politically speaking, is the rise of surprise 2016 presidential candidates.
Many experts are dumbfounded as they observe the sagging poll numbers of candidates thought to be inevitable nominees, e.g., Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Meanwhile, those once considered outliers, particularly Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, are contenders who are trending upwards.
Hillary supporters are dealing with a summer of drooping favorable ratings, swirling questions about Bill and Hillary’s foundation donors, and a criminal probe of Hillary’s stewardship of classified information while serving as Secretary of State.
Stunning political headlines outline how Sanders is drawing record crowds and actually leading in New Hampshire, while others suggest that Joe Biden is flirting with entering the race and talking about being a possible one-termer.
The political scuttlebutt these days is looking more and more as if it has been lifted from an Aaron Sorkin script. Biden's camp seems to be shifting from idle to pre-announcement mode.
Interestingly, a “Draft Biden” entity was registered with the Federal Election Commission in March, and according to the New York Times, the vice president engaged in a recent one-hour conversation with Richard Harpootlian, former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, about whether or not he, too, should jump into the race.
Biden told Harpootlian to get in touch with Mike Donilon, who happens to be one of Biden’s closest political consultants, and additionally he has “permitted his advisers to discreetly contact operatives in early nominating states to determine how fast they could organize a campaign.”
The Times also described the effort to bring Biden into the primary fray as entering “a new, more aggressive phase that resembles an exploratory committee.”
News outlets have been putting out a compelling human interest narrative, one with which Biden's campaign consultants could potentially engage public sentiment; that being, the vice president may, in part, enter the 2016 race to fulfill his son Beau’s dying wish that he do so.
The drama embodied in Biden’s personal family tragedy could have ramifications on Hillary’s ability to regain the keys to the White House doors.
Hollywood is a community where political loyalties can turn on a dime, as exemplified by the way in which many entertainment industry insiders displayed their unabashed fickleness during the 2008 presidential cycle by abandoning Hillary’s ship and jumping aboard Obama’s train.
If Hillary’s poll numbers continue to drop, Tinseltown could once again reverse course and this time move in the direction of Biden.
Some insertions and revisions to the 2016 election script appear to be taking shape, and a curious twist of fate is materializing. It arrives in the form of an undying devotion to, of all people, Sanders.
This stands in contrast to the support that is on display for Hillary in the social media, which is mainly gender-focused and marked by perfunctory tweets, including the following:
- Following her announcement, singer Ellie Goulding and “2 Broke Girls” star Kat Dennings summed things up in a single word, “Hillary.”
- Singer-songwriter Carole King posted “I’m in.”
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” tweeted, “I have an announcement: I’m not running for president. Yay #Hillary2016!”
- Singer Ariana Grande tweeted, “yaaas @hillaryclinton.”
- Clay Aiken, the “American Idol” contestant who ran for Congress, critiqued Hillary with his first tweet, writing, “Hillary, I love you. But why are you the stiffest and most scripted looking person in this video.”
In the meantime, Sanders’ celebrity backers are using social media to display the same degree of enthusiasm that drew 20,000 people to Portland, Ore., and 27,000 potential voters to Los Angeles, CA. Superlatives for Sanders are gushing forth, as seen in the following:
- Actress and comedian Sarah Silverman introduced Sanders at the L.A. event and posted on her Twitter account, “I'm loving @SenSanders . He says what he means & he means what he says & he's not for sale.”
- Actor Mark Ruffalo told the Daily Beast, “I think Sanders has a message. He’s the one.”
- Actress and outspoken left-wing activist Susan Sarandon used her Facebook account to dub Sanders “courageous and level-headed in times of crisis.”
- Actor Justin Long used an infographic to compare the Clinton donors with those of Sanders. The tweet’s message was, “A president who represents the people or a president who represents banks, corporations + the media?”
- Actress Mia Farrow tweeted, “However you may vote, Bernie Sanders is pretty great. He doesn't pander, is consistent and clear on important issues.”
- A representative for Neil Young indicated in a statement that “Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America.”
- Actor-director Danny DeVito invoked “Star Wars” as he tweeted, “Bernie Sanders...you're our only hope Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
Nick Gillespie pointed out in a recent article in The Daily Beast that Trump and Sanders appear different on the surface in that one is “a socialist-hating billionaire and the other is a billionaire-hating socialist.” However, each has tapped into the same anti-politician populist vein, and like those of Sanders, Trump’s followers have filled the social media with enthusiastic posts, as illustrated below:
- Former NBA star Dennis Rodman wrote on Twitter, “@realDonaldTrump has been a great friend for many years. We don't need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump! Trump 2016.”
- Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” investor Mark Cuban said that Trump is “the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time,” adding that Trump “gives honest answers rather than prepared answers.”
- Rocker Ted Nugent said that if Trump became president, he would “kick a** and take names, and that's what America needs right now.”
- Kiss bassist and former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Gene Simmons called Trump a “good family man” and a “straight shooter.”
- Former Minnesota governor and pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura told his staff, “You know what, as far as the Republicans are concerned, I said I hope Trump wins.”
- Even HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher, who has frequently made Trump the target of his humor, called the real estate mogul “refreshing.”
The GOP frontrunner and television host is apparently of the opinion that he is going to receive a good deal of support from Hollywood, even if some of the assistance is covert and left-of-center.
When Trump visited the Entertainment Capital in July, he was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying, “Hollywood isn't abandoning me. They've been really good. NBC abandoned me because I'm running for president and NBC was very angry with me. This has nothing to do with inclusion. This has to do with me not doing ‘Apprentice.’ NBC was not loyal, but I'm running for president, and I can't hold that against them. I think the liberals in Hollywood support me behind my back.”
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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