As 2020 presidential candidates sound the alarm to their supporters of the high stakes in Saturday’s South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday, their campaigns are enlisting celebrities to get out the vote and drive enthusiasm.
On Sunday, Bernie Sanders’ campaign will hold a rally in downtown Los Angeles with a cross-generational lineup that includes Dick Van Dyke, Sarah Silverman and Public Enemy. Elizabeth Warren has been campaigning in South Carolina this week with John Legend, forgoing a selfie line for a Legend performance of hits like “Ordinary People” and “All of Me.” Pete Buttigieg unveiled a web video narrated by Kevin Costner and a contest that offers a chance to meet the candidate and Michael J. Fox.
These entertainment figures are gold for presidential campaigns — the kinds of endorsements or expressions of support that get attention. While voters insist, in poll after poll, that they don’t vote for a candidate based on whether they have a celebrity’s support, that isn’t necessarily the point: Campaigns draw on celebrities for fundraising, organizing and to rally crowds, as well as to simply convey a kind of bandwagon effect.
Of course, there is the risk of overdoing it, of campaigns going too far in deploying celebrities given that the Trump campaign and the GOP already have attacked Democrats for embracing elites.
Perhaps mindful of the headlines and sound bites he wanted to convey, Legend’s criticisms of Trump at the Warren rally in Orangeburg, SC, were tame compared to what he has said on Twitter.
When he appeared at a Buttigieg event in New Hampshire earlier this month, Costner was a bit cautious about telling voters to cast their ballots for his candidate.
“It wouldn’t be my place to tell you what do to with this chance. I am just inviting you to listen to see if you hear what I hear,” Costner said, before introducing Buttigieg.
Here is a lineup of celebrity support of Democratic candidates so far. We’ll be adding to the lists so keep checking back.