More and More Celebrities Considering Runs for Higher Office

Matthew McConaughey by david.torcivia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

President Trump might have made his name in real estate, but he truly gained national attention as the star of the Apprentice. 

His election to the presidency was a watershed moment for the convergence of politics and entertainment, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. 

Before Trump was California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, elected in 2003. And before Schwarzenegger was movie star and future President Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980. 

Now the trend of celebrities and politics is accelerating. 

Every direction you turn there’s another famous guy planning to run for President or Governor. 

While it’s true that Hollywood leans far left, not every famous person running for office is a full progressive. Some lean libertarian, others are more centrist.

Also, the trend of the future is populist, and if celebrities are good at one thing it’s crowd-pleasing. That makes this a little more interesting. 

I decided to take a look at a few of the famous people thinking about a political career. Roll tape. 

Entertainer Dwayne Johnson Meets Members of the LAFD by LAFD is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Rock

Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson has hinted he may run for President numerous times in the past. Most recently he backed Kamala Harris and Joe Biden in the last election, but in the past he has also voted for Republicans and shows a strong respect for hard work and the American way in some respects. 

His new NBC comedy is basically about him running to be POTUS, so it seems like there’s a pattern here, and the Rock has repeatedly said he’d consider going for it if he feels like people are ready. He’s definitely got the name ID and the money…

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner kicked off a campaign to be the next governor of California last week, although it’s been pretty quiet. About from a comment about Jenner’s belief that trans people (biological men) shouldn’t play in girls sports, the buzz has died down a bit. 

Jenner is a famous former Olympian-turned-reality-TV star after being on the show the Kardashians. As the recall effort against current progressive Governor Gavin Newsom heats up, Jenner has good name recognition and inhabits a comfortable middle for the state of being socially liberal and otherwise a conservative Republican. 

“Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision,” Jenner said. 

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey’s new book Greenlights has been selling well. The memoir is all about his life lessons, but it could easily be the backdrop to a run for Governor of Texas as well. On his book tour he’s acted a lot like it might be, and he’s said in the past he could run to head up the Lone Star State.

Could he win? A recent poll found that he has a better shot than current Governor Greg Abbott of winning the 2022 midterms, so don’t rule it out completely. This guy is ambitious!

Kid Rock

Kid Rock (Robert Ritchie) previously dipped his toe in the political waters, saying he might run for the Senate in Michigan in 2017 in order to support his beloved home state. Rock says he’s a natural contrarian who’s gone more right as he watched everyone else drift left.

He eventually backtracked on his plans in signature Kid Rock style, however, telling Howard Stern “f— no, I’m not running for Senate.”

Still, a future Kid Rock presidency is not out of the question. 

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd is a progressive actress from Kentucky who was hinted at as a leftie who could oust Mitch McConnell from his well-worn Senate seat. However she bowed out in 2013 saying it was more important to spend time with family. However Judd has indicated that a future political career is definitely possible, saying she “might run” someday in a 2015 interview.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that celebrities are becoming more and more involved in politics. As Schwarzenegger said in his advice to Jenner, being a celebrity gives you a boost in your name recognition, but it doesn’t get rid of the need to have an actual plan. 

“The key thing about all of this: It doesn’t matter if it’s Caitlyn or if it’s anyone else if you have a clear vision of where you want to go,” Schwarzenegger said.

“What are the kind of changes you want to make? And why are you qualified to become governor?”