Unite for America, a “multi-partisan movement of concerned citizens and volunteers, united against the unprecedented threat of an unqualified candidate taking our nation’s office,” has enlisted a group of celebrities to appear in a two-and-a-half-minute YouTube PSA. The video features actors Martin Sheen and Debra Messing, and more than a dozen other celebrities you may (but probably won’t) recognize, waxing solemn about the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, quoting from the Federalist, and encouraging Republican members of the Electoral College to embrace “the constitutional responsibility granted to you by Alexander Hamilton himself” — which isn’t how the Constitution works, but, hey: details.
We have to save America.
Being no enthusiast of Donald Trump’s, and being open to the idea of electors exercising independent judgment in dire circumstances, I don’t find Unite for America’s aim — in principle — offensive. But one has to wonder: Was anyone there watching this election? Because if there is one indisputable takeaway from 2016, it’s this: No one gives a West Wing box set what Martin Sheen thinks about politics.
Hillary Clinton, trying desperately to project an image in which she did not seem to be a high-school assistant principal from Terre Haute, enveloped herself in an unceasing haze of A-listers: Bon Jovi serenaded her on her campaign jet, and Katy Perry was a regular presence on the campaign trail, at one point performing alongside Elton John (who declared Clinton America’s “only hope”). The Democratic National Convention, slim on up-and-coming political talent, relied on red-carpet glamor: Speakers included Meryl Streep, comedian Sarah Silverman, actresses Chloe Moretz and America Ferrera, singer Demi Lovato, and a gaggle of others. Broadway star Idina Menzel and actress Elizabeth Banks joined dozens of Hollywood and Billboard types to record an a cappella version of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” (the Clinton campaign’s theme song), which they unveiled at the convention . . . following a performance by Lenny Kravitz. Early in the cycle, Clinton appeared on an episode of the Comedy Central sitcom Broad City. In the final days before the election, Beyoncé and rapper husband Jay Z performed at a Clinton rally in Cleveland.
In other words, the Clinton campaign was one star-studded photo-op after the next. And it wasn’t enough.
A Left that’s interested in making some actual progress might take a lesson from that fact. Hillary Clinton could not overcome her inability to connect with key voters by dazzling them with glamorous pals. In fact, Clinton’s reliance on glitzy endorsements turns out to have been a sign that she had no understanding of her political moment. Left-wing turnout was not going to be buoyed up by a few more Lena Dunham web ads. What Clinton needed were white, working-class voters, and those people were not likely to rally behind Beyoncé, with her $400,000 per month summer home. This year’s key voting bloc was asking, Who understands me?, and Clinton’s rolling Oscars after-party sent precisely the wrong message.
#related#Fame can be an aid, as the Left knows from its crusade to normalize, and ultimately remove legal prohibitions against, same-sex marriage, which was effected in no small part by Hollywood. But the Democratic party has fallen disastrously out of touch with a large, vocal segment of Americans, who are less enamored of cultural progressivism than of competitive wages. That’s a sea change for what used to be the working man’s party, particularly attentive to the struggling and the down-and-out. It has become the party of Beverly Hills parties. It can’t be both.
Republicans, who were seduced by their own celebrity this year, should keep that in mind, too.