Celebrities share political views on social media

Ana Turner and Zain Habib

Through the use of social media, today’s celebrities have unprecedented influence over their fans. From TV actors to politicians, everyone has instant access to their fans, and in today’s political climate, many celebrities are making their views public. Although celebrities are increasingly backing political candidates, many critics are beginning to question the influence that celebrities have on political elections.

The best example of celebrities making their mark on politics is Oprah Winfrey. In the time preceding the 2008 election, Winfrey openly endorsed Barack Obama. With over 8 million daily viewers and 16 million magazine subscribers, Winfrey wielded great power. Political analysts say that Winfrey’s endorsement gave Obama an additional 1 million voters, which helped him surpass Clinton in the primaries.

But few celebrities hold the reputation of Oprah Winfrey. Celebrities can’t just throw money at a candidate and have a large influence on a campaign anymore. Many current stars share their endorsements via social media. This seems to resonate with fans.

According to MIT Labs, social media had more influence this election year than any other in the past. The presidential debate was the most Tweeted debate ever. As more millennials join the social media craze, politicians and celebrities alike are seeing this as the primary source of information for their followers.

However, though celebrity endorsements through social media create buzz, they don’t translate to success. While Hillary Clinton won public support of superstars such as Beyoncé Knowles, Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez, among others, her campaign still suffered as she failed to reach average Americans. 

The 2016 election caused a stir in the celebrity community, with multiple celebrities endorsing one party or the other. Gene Simmons, a member of the band Kiss, was vocal about his support toward President Donald Trump and of the proposed wall. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Simmons shared his views about the wall being built on the border between the United States and Mexico.

“The Pope has said the wall is unkind, but it’s interesting that at the Vatican there’s a wall,” Simmons said. “They don’t want people on the outside coming into the Vatican.”

Willie Robertson, a star on the show “Duck Dynasty,” also expressed his support for Trump at the Republican National Convention.

“No matter who you are, Donald Trump will have your back,” Robertson said.

On the other side of the election, numerous celebrities endorsed Democratic candidate Clinton.

Madonna publicly endorsed Clinton on her Instagram page when she posted a photo of Trump’s sons, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump, holding a dead cheetah. She captioned the photo “How Big of a p**** Do you have to BE to kill this Noble Animal for sport? Just ask Donald Trump, Jr. and his brother Eric. One more reason to vote for Hillary!”

Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z also showed their support for Clinton. At a concert in Ohio, a critical swing state, Beyoncé stopped her show to give her message.

“Less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote, look how far we’ve come,” Beyoncé said. “From having no voice, to being on the brink of making history again by electing the first woman president.”

The 2016 election was one filled with controversy. It was not unusual for multiple celebrities to be outspoken in their opinions toward the two candidates and these are just a few examples of celebrities voicing their opinions and why they decided to vote for their preferred candidates.