While many of us took to the Twittersphere on Election Day and these past months to give our opinions on the 2012 presidential election in 140 characters or less, we were joined by some tweeters with a bit more followers than the average person: politically active celebrities of Hollywood.
This election, social media made it clear that celebrities are more than mere voting citizens: They serve as gateways to help promote the candidates and voting to the nation.
Let’s start with the celebrity tactic both candidates employed for their final push in Ohio on Monday night. When President Barack Obama took to the stage in Columbus for his second-to-last campaign stop, he brought two celebs to spread the age demographic of the country: Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen. Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s Ohio tactic? That same night he campaigned at the Port Columbus International Airport with The Marshall Tucker Band. The candidates brought CNN and Fox News to the events, but the celebrities brought E! news and guaranteed the candidates spreading their message to different demographics.
Celebrities even seemed to band together in support of the candidates, nearly forming their own super PAC. According to US News, Obama received significant contributions from will.i.am, Eva Longoria, George Clooney and Zach Braff. Romney’s corner of celeb support included Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, Vince Vaughn, Meatloaf and, of course, Donald Trump.
Both candidates have learned that bringing on celebrities can help shape their image. With Lynyrd Skynyrd on Team Romney, he may have hoped to appeal to the “Sweet Home Alabama” audience. And the many past girlfriends of George Clooney might have gone to the polls for Obama … if they weren’t from Italy. Luckily for both candidates, the young Justin Bieber is Canadian born, but I’m sure there would have been a battle for the minority vote of Beliebers over the age of 18.
In the realm of celebrity supporters, it seems Obama won by gathering the “tier 1” equivalent of celebs. But perhaps the later generation of voters are avid Meatloaf fans, and Romney appealed to them that way. Either way, Romney’s celeb supporters weren’t shy on Twitter about their post-election feelings.
Trump wasn’t short of coming up with statements about Romney’s loss that signaled the end of the world.
“This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!” @realDonaldTrump lamented when the results came in indicating Obama had won. He proceeded to trash the electoral college, state that our country was “in serious and unprecedented trouble…like never before” and trash Brian Williams’s election coverage. But he did manage to throw in a few tweets here and there about how Trump volunteers were helping Hurricane Sandy victims.
Romney supporter and comedian Victoria Jackson went for the dramatic with her post-election tweets. Via Twitter, Jackson announced the death of America, posting a tombstone picture. Jackson, whose Twitter description reads “John 16:33” even went so far as to say:
“Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me.”
You can’t measure the effect a celebrity endorsement has on a candidate. Maybe Jackson’s controversial tweets drew the Romney campaign more attention. But I doubt large groups of voters selected a straight “Jay-Z” ticket when they entered the polls. One thing, however, is for certain: Celebs did make a difference with the election on Tuesday by encouraging their followers to just get out and vote, regardless of party affiliation.
Lady Gaga tweeted a link to help people find their polling locations; Ryan Seacrest tweeted his status of filling out his ballot and the Kardashian klan encouraged their followers to head to the polls.
E! compiled a list of these celebrity tweeters, and most of them encouraged voters in an objective way, inspiring their followers to simply vote for someone, anyone. Their followers, who may or may not watch CNN, had the election brought to their attention by someone they idolize, which may be more meaningful to them than any political ad on TV.
Election 2012 was a moment of redemption for celeb tweeters. Though often tweeting about their cats, their latest movie projects or the expensive designer clothing they just can’t get enough of, they put their tweets to good use, and helped put the importance of voting into the spotlight for their followers.
So be kind to the girl in your discussion keeping up with Snooki daily on Twitter. Know that for once, the Guido and her fellow celebs pushed to make a difference in our nation.