Many people who work in the U.S. television and movie business are known to resist President Donald Trump. Award shows and social media make fun of Trump. Celebrities such as Katy Perry, George Clooney and LeBron James publicly supported Hillary Clinton when she ran against Trump two years ago.
But Hollywood – as the business is called – cannot oppose Trump in a presidential election until 2020. So workers are using their power and creativity to help opposition party candidates for state and local offices. Elections for those positions will be held on November 6 of this year.
A group that calls itself OMG WTF
On a recent night in Los Angeles, more than 100 people came together to talk politics at a popular piano bar. It was lit by a sign that said “OMG WTF.”
The sign is the name of a group that supports Democrats in the states of Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas and Florida. OMG WTF is from the first letter of each state.
Ben Sheehan started OMG WTF to call attention to these races. At the piano bar, Sheehan explained his thinking.
State office holders can work against Trump, he said. For example, attorneys general have the power to sue to block federal laws. Secretaries of state can affect voting rules. Many governors can reject voting areas that are created to support one party. Also, he added, state leaders become the national leaders of the future.
OMG WTF said it raised more than $100,000 in the first few weeks after it launched this summer. The money is given directly to candidates. It also helps pay for events and information at university campuses. Most target voters under age 35 – a group that has low voting numbers.
What effect do celebrities have on voting?
The effect celebrities have on elections is not clear. In 2016, many Hollywood stars urged voters to support Hillary Clinton. When she lost, some wondered if voters became angry that Hollywood stars told them to how to vote.
Now, strategists are directing celebrities to races in their home states, where they know about important issues and have friends.
Hannah Linkenhoker is a senior political strategist at talent agency ICM Partners and founder of ICM Politics. She said, “(If celebrities) have a genuine connection to the candidate or race, I don’t think that hurts.”
I’m Susan Shand
Reuters reported this story. Susan Shand adapted this story for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
Words in This Story
celebrity – n a person who is famous
sue – v. to use a legal process by which you try to get a court of law to force a person, company, or organization that has treated you unfairly or hurt you in some way to give you something or to do something
strategist – n. a person who is skilled in making plans for achieving a goal
genuine – adj. sincere and honest