Cynthia Nixon may be the latest celebrity rumored to be entering the political sphere, but she certainly isn’t the first to make the transition, nor will she be the last. The Sex and the City star recently joined the long list of actors, musicians, and lime-light personalities to throw their hat into the ring — or, at the very least, not to remove their hat once it’s been tossed.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Nixon had been “approached” by liberal groups encouraging her to run against current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Active in liberal politics in her home state for a long time, Nixon is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights and education funding reform, and is a member of Mayor de Blasio’s advisory board for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. She has been known to speak out against local and federal politics that she sees as destructive, namely Gov. Cuomo and current US president Donald Trump.
Of course, celebrities running for office is not a new phenomenon. The 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, was an actor before he was a politician; Arnold Schwarzenegger ran a successful campaign to become Governor of California in 2003; Jesse Ventura served as Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003; and even Clint Eastwood ran for Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, after becoming aggravated about zoning laws.
However, in the wake of Trump’s political ascent, it seems as though the game has been changed. Our understanding of the qualities and experience deemed valuable, and necessary, for election into the White House has been challenged. Where “traditional” credentials (i.e., holding a high political or military office) were once deemed a pre-requisite, it seems Trump has shown us that non-traditional candidates can run — and win.
While an official candidacy is far from confirmed, with Nixon only affirming that there are “a lot of people who would like [her] to run” and her representatives declining any official comments, her political credentials are certainly more credible than other celebrities on “the list”.
Below are some of the celebrities rumored to be considering a political career sometime in the near future, as well as some odds on the likelihood that their campaigns will become more than just speculation.
Dwayne Johnson is an unstoppable force. He is at the top of his game in, quite literally, every sphere. Have you seen a more ambitious or charismatic star? No, you haven’t, because Johnson is it. Is there a more diplomatic actor/wrestler/human being? Not likely. In an interview with GQ earlier this year, Johnson spoke openly about his political views, why he didn’t publicly endorse either party during the last election, and the very real possibility that he will run for office in the future. Because Johnson loves America and the world, and we love him.
Robert James Richie, known professionally as Kid Rock, seems to be kind of serious about a career change. Sure, at first we all laughed at the idea of him entering the political world, but remember who we were laughing about back in 2015. If Kid Rock decides to actually run, his path to the U.S. Senate won’t be as arduous as one might initially presume. Granted, he is supposed to be on tour come November, creating some significant scheduling conflicts. However, if you consider his primary field would only be with three other newcomers, and that he would be the non-traditional candidate in a very loyal state (Michigan) where he is already beloved — well, it’s not that unlikely anymore.
Caitlyn Jenner has mentioned the possibility of a senatorial run, citing the potential for change being greater while working “from the inside” as her main motivation. According to Jenner, she and her team are “in the process of determining” whether this is the right move for her, but with Trump’s continued disregard for the health and safety of the trans community, one can see why Jenner would feel the pull to politics.
Cynthia Nixon has not confirmed (or denied, to be fair) her potential candidacy for Governor of New York, and it doesn’t seem like she will anytime soon. Yes, she is actively engaged in politics and advocacy, and yes, people may be interested. But no, it does not mean she is going to actually run.
Kanye West says he wasn’t messing around when he announced his #2020 run for the Presidency back in 2015. In an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac earlier this month, he clarified that while he doesn’t have any “political views,” he does have views “on humanity.” West says that if there is anything he can do with his time and energy to make a difference, he wants to do it. I believe the guy, I actually do (despite whatever my rational brain says). Whether #2020 becomes a reality is a different story though.
Oprah herself has stated, “I will never run for public office.” Is there the tiniest part of me that hopes she changes her mind? I can neither confirm, nor deny.
By Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York (100Years_5815) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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