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Donald Trump Proves Why Celebrities Should Not Be Politicians

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Former President Donald Trump is a walking scandal. He has displayed blatant ignorance, frequently using racist, misogynistic, and homophobic language. Despite his hateful comments, Trump was still elected as president in 2016. His climb to presidency can be attributed to his status as a famous political outsider, and his celebrity image enabled him to speak in blunt rhetoric that was unconventional for a politician. The celebrity-to-politician pipeline, most notable for Trump’s presidency, should be avoided to prevent unqualified people from holding positions of great political authority and influence. 

Before office, Trump was a host of the popular reality television show “The Apprentice,” which displayed him as a successful, rich businessman. The celebrity-to-politician path is nothing new. Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger are just two of the many celebrities who have climbed to public office. It makes sense, considering that name recognition can influence voters and help a candidate rise in votes. A celebrity who gets involved in politics will have an advantage based on their profile alone. Candidates who appeal to voters with strong policies or a dedicated record of public service rather than fame are at a disadvantage. As a result, unqualified people are holding public office. The difference between past celebrity politicians and Trump is the rise of social media and celebrity worship — being obsessed with a celebrity and idolizing them — in the time leading to his election. As Trump proved when he promoted the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection that left five dead, the misuse of social media along with celebrity status is a dangerous combination that should be prevented in U.S. politics. 

Trump used the expansion of social media to his full advantage with constant tweets of conspiracy theories and far-right ideas. The former president was known as the “Commander in Tweets” and used Twitter to attract supporters. As a result, Trump’s prejudiced views and misinformation spread throughout social media. Trump was able to get away with his widespread preposterous claims, including allegations of voter fraud and discrediting major news sources as “fake news,” because of his non-politician image. Americans are used to politicians lying, but Trump’s celebrity status allowed him to seem genuine because of the perceived authenticity and straightforwardness of his speech. In cases like this, some voters will confuse authenticity with honesty and will believe they intertwine. While politicians are expected to demonstrate leadership and appear as role models, Trump was able to avoid being held to that standard. 

The fact that Trump became president on a platform of bigotry and misinformation sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the United States. Celebrities like Kanye West, who made antisemitic remarks, or Caitlyn Jenner, who supported the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, have followed in Trump’s footsteps and become invested in politics. Both celebrities have an extremely large social media following that could be influenced to adopt dangerous and violent extremist beliefs. With the 2024 presidential election around the corner, the rise of celebrities in politics could make the spread of misinformation on social media an even larger problem. 

The growth of social media has made celebrity worship more common. Constituents should be responsible for holding politicians accountable, but the rising trend of celebrity worship has allowed Trump to avoid facing consequences for his actions. Trump supporters are severely blinded by celebrity worship. Despite his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and his illegal hold on classified documents, he still remains the front-runner for the Republican nomination. Going forward, celebrities-turned-politicians could follow this blueprint and get away with abuses of power that would otherwise be punished. This display of devotion does not belong in politics; voters should be as objective as possible in order to ensure that only the most qualified, deserving candidates hold positions in office. 

Celebrities shouldn’t get involved in politics because they do not understand the needs of the public. Former presidents such as Lyndon B. Johnson grew up low-income, and Herbert Hoover was an orphan. Trump grew up with a trust fund worth millions, and he proved that he was not able to relate to the average American citizen when he provided tax breaks for the rich. Instead of acknowledging his privileged background, Trump proclaimed that a “small loan of a million dollars” sparked his career. Celebrities like Trump who are showered in luxuries and wealth clearly have no ability to connect to the American people or act in their best interests, highlighting why we should not indulge their political aspirations. 

For the sake of the country, celebrities need to be separated from politics. While everyone should be able to participate in the democratic process, there’s a clear pattern of inadequate, misinformed celebrity politicians. The American people must ensure that another celebrity politician like Trump never takes office again in order to ensure a safe future for our democracy. 


Zahira Vasquez is an Opinion Intern for the spring 2023 quarter. She can be reached at zivasque@uci.edu.