search slide
search slide
pages bottom

Clinton's celebrity friends vs. Trump's celebrity friends

Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato Jr. haven't had this much press in a long time. The Happy Days actor and underwear model (in case you needed a primer) have been mentioned again and again over the last two weeks as bywords for how pathetically bereft of star power the Republican convention was.

It's a little unfair. Trump did also get one of the beardy blokes off Duck Dynasty to speak. And Kimberlin Brown, who used to be on The Young and the Restless.

The Democrats, by comparison, had Boyz II Men, Katy Perry, Paul Simon, Lena Dunham, America Ferreira, Elizabeth Banks, Eva Longoria, Jane Fonda, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, Chloë Grace Moretz, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Angela Bassett, Carole King, Demi Lovato and Sarah Silverman.

Susan Sarandon, Bryan Cranston and Bradley Cooper watched from the crowd and Morgan Freeman provided the voiceover while Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg entertained delegates outside the arena. The Republican entertainment outside? Kid Rock and the remaining members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

In fact, any time Trump even tried to use the recorded music of a band or musician, he seemed to add another lawsuit or complaint to his inbox.

The Rolling Stones, Paul Rodgers, Queen, The O'Jays, Earth, Wind & Fire and George Harrison's estate were among those falling over themselves to give Trump a smack.

The lusterless convention, celebrity-wise, was in stark contrast to what Trump promised back in April. "It's very important to put some showbiz into a convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep," he told the Washington Post in April.

His response after the respective events were ranked side-by-side in terms of star power, meanwhile, was an inevitable U-turn.

"I think we had, if you include my children and the great success that they had, I would say we had tremendous star power," he said. "But I wasn't looking for star power, I was looking for policy."

But why were the credits for the Trump show so D-list, while the Democrats pulled in more stars than ever before? To be fair to The Donald, it's long been harder for Republicans to get celebs than Democrats. Hollywood and the music industry have historically leaned left and previous gatherings have emphasized this trend.

2012 for the Democrats: Sheryl Crow, Jessica Alba, Will.i.am, James Taylor, Scarlett Johansson, The Foo Fighters.

2012 for the Republicans: Jon Voight,  American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair.

You get the idea.

Fred Davis, creative director of the 2008 Republican convention, meanwhile, told Variety that "it got to the point where we were looking for anybody — even if we could get Grandma Moses to come. People would be really supportive, but then they would say, 'Gosh, I can’t make it that week.' It’s funny how busy everybody was."

Any that were booked eventually cancelled after taking slack, he added.

This time round, Tim Tebow and Tom Brady — after taking heat for supporting Trump earlier in the year — rushed to reassure fans that they weren't going to speak in favor of Trump.

So why couldn't Trump, with his years embedded in the world of TV and show business both in front of and behind the screen, get anyone on board? Didn't he run a show called Celebrity Apprentice?

The answer, as many including Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, have pointed out, is that associating with Trump could be detrimental.

"For people in these high-profile entertainment fields, association with Donald Trump could be toxic for their careers," Wilson told the Dallas Morning News.

Between the comments about Mexicans, mocking the disabled and his petulant comeback tweets, he's become precisely the kind of vortex celebrities shouldn't want to get sucked into. Fame is a fickle food, the social media generation is quick to set up the gallows and entering the Trumpisphere may not be worth it for many.

Plus there are sponsorship deals and brand tie-ins to think about. In fact, the convention wasn't just light on celebs; plenty of brands avoided it too, including Coca-Cola, Visa and FedEx.

It gets worse for Trump. America's other First Family, The Kardashians, even came out against him recently, and over one hundred famous names joined forces in a #UnitedAgainstHate campaign to try and prevent him from reaching the White House.

The actual effect of celebrity endorsements on the polls has long been disputed, however, and whether the lack of support by those with star power derails the Trump train by November remains to be seen.

Leave a Reply

Captcha image