Groucho Marx famously said: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” The quote sums up the depressing realization for Tinseltown’s progressives this morning that a conservative Republican wave seems to have swept their big-money quest to transform America into a European social welfare state into the dustbin of history.
Led by DreamWorks Animation studio Chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, Hollywood progressives went financially all-in for Democrats in 2014. Progressives gave to races at all levels of government, but according to the Hollywood Reporter their biggest investment was the $2.5 million donated last quarter to Allison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) to defeat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Other Democrats in Senate races that also received lavish Tinseltown cash included Michelle Nunn in Georgia and sitting Senators Kay Hagan in North Carolina, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mark Udall in Colorado, and Mark Begich in Alaska. All of them were soundly vanquished by Republicans.
In describing the aftermath of the election to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, progressive Daily Show host Jon Stewart said: “It’s a blood bath out there. Were you surprised that the Democrats’ strategy seemed to be…curling up in a ball and hoping you didn’t kick them in the face too hard?”
Katzenberg successfully rallied $5,200 maximum contributions per Democrat candidate from Dream Work stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld and Nicolas Cage. Hollywood A-listers Leonardo DiCaprio, Danny DeVito, Barbra Streisand, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, James Cameron, Aaron Sorkin, J.J. Abrams, Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Ted Danson, Chris Rock also chipped in. Studio executives Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Stacey Snider, Anne Globe, Tom Rothman, Jeff Robinov, Kevin Tsujihara and his wife, Nicole. Katzenberg’s wife and two young children also made maximum contributions.
But the magic of Hollywood contributions to Democrats has lost its clout. Republicans picked up at least 3 governorships and 7 Senate seats, and forced run-offs in Alaska and Louisiana where they will be favored. Republicans captured 244 House seats and are leading in four of the twelve still undecided, assuring they will surpass their record of 246 seats in 1946. In perhaps the grimmest statistic to face future progressives’ hopes, the GOP now controls 65 state legislative chambers to 23 Democrat, 1 tied, and 4 undecided–a post-1920s high.
Hollywood progressives’ disastrous night at the elections followed a disastrous year at the box office. It all began on December 25, 2013 with the release of 47 Ronin. Featuring top paid star Keanu Reeves and visionary director Carl Erik Rinsch (The Gift) in a 3D fantasy-adventure, it became the worst movie flop in history. With production costs of $225 million, the flick lost $150 million after only grossing $151 million revenue.
The peak summer ticket sales audience for the July 4th weekend fell by 43% over last year, as the movie theaters tried to offset falling attendance with higher ticket prices. According to Variety, “this holiday weekend topped out at approximately $130 million, a 43.4% drop from last year’s Independence Day, which brought in $230 million overall. If these numbers hold, this could be weakest Fourth of July in at least a decade.”
Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon told the Hollywood Reporter that progressives saw the landslide coming and Barbra Streisand sent out a last minute donation plea. “It was the worst election map since Eisenhower,” Solomon said. “We all put on our body armor and were waiting for this explosion. Now we just need to move forward.”
After a year of Hollywood progressive Democrats being crushed at the box office and ballot box, it is conservatives Republicans that are moving forward.