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Opinion: Should celebrities run for public office?

Celebrities running for political office have been a sight that has been seen for decades.

Before Ronald Reagan became the President of the United States, he served as president of the Screen Actors Guild and had a successful film career, starring in over 50 movies across three decades.

Arnold Schwarzenegger served as Governor of California for eight years while also maintaining his preestablished career as an actor and bodybuilder.

Talk show host Jerry Springer served as Mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1978. “Clueless” actress Stacey Dash ran for the 2018 Congressional Election.

Popular 1930s child actress Shirley Temple served as U.S. Ambassador to what was then Czechoslovakia from 1982 to 1993, and current U.S. President Donald Trump has almost 30 acting credits from his days before politics.

More recently, rapper Kanye West announced his decision to run for the 2020 Presidential Election.

These are just a small amount of celebrities who have run for political office.

According to Candidate Boot Camp, several factors need to be observed when running for political office: Professional and personal time management, the candidate’s qualifications – such as age and education – and any adjustments that will have to be made to prior career decisions.

Historically, many celebrities have been able to effectively meet these factors when working as elected officials. Some have not.

According to History News Network, Ronald Reagan was an influential voice for the conservative party, and he was held in high esteem by many Americans for his revival of said party after it was decimated by the scandals of the Nixon administration.

Despite the national debt spiking during Reagan’s presidency, over 20 million new jobs were created. Reagan also successfully ended the Cold War and eased international tensions with what was then the Soviet Union, which is considered as his biggest accomplishment as president.

A national poll taken in 2001 deemed Reagan the greatest president in history, only slightly topping Abraham Lincoln. An example of a celebrity who did not pass the bar was Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While Schwarzenegger had a few accomplishments during his time as governor – such as the Global Warming Solutions Act and overhauling worker’s compensation – his approval rating dropped rapidly after the recession in 2008.

He is considered not to have had any great influence on the political state of California during his time as governor. He did attempt to work with politicians in both parties and the general public of the state all while attempting to maintain a career in the entertainment industry.

Unless a celebrity is capable of running a successful election campaign and will be able to have an equally successful career in politics, government positions should be left to those who already have established careers in politics.

Celebrities with their large followings will definitely have the support rallying behind them should they decide to run for government positions. However, they should not do so unless they will truly be able to accept all the challenges working as an elective official will bring.

Story written by Bailey Storey. Photo courtesy of The Spectator. 

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