Hey, America. Lots of rich, famous Hollywood celebrities love Hillary Clinton. And so you should love her, too.
Right? That’s why liberals spent much of last week trashing the Republican National Convention’s celebrity lineup. Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato, Jr.? Please! We’ve got Elizabeth Banks, Lena Dunham and Meryl Streep!
Meryl f***ing Streep. That’s three Oscars right there.
Never mind that Baio delivered an almost sobering speech about what it means to be an American and the value of bootstrap self-empowerment, and Sabato discussed his joy at becoming an American citizen lawfully, by waiting his turn like everybody else, while Dunham prattled on about “Islamophobia” (no mention of ISIS, of course) and Meryl Streep gave us the Dean Scream that Howard Dean himself failed to deliver just hours earlier.
(And never mind that more people watched Happy Days, and even Joanie Loves Chachi, in their heydays than will ever watch an episode of HBO’s Dunham vehicle Girls.)
No. Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Lena Dunham, Elizabeth Banks and Sarah Silverman are the Stars of Today. So, you should, like, totally care about their political opinions.
The Democrats are doing the same thing at the Democratic National Convention this year that they did (successfully) when Barack Obama accepted the nomination at the DNC in 2008; they’re hoping that if they simply trot out enough hip, well-liked celebrities, Americans will be dazzled into voting for Hillary Clinton, or something.
And the celebrity onslaught has been relentless, after just two days.
The convention’s first night featured Eva Longoria, Paul Simon, Sarah Silverman, Hangover actor Ken Jeong in a pre-taped skit, and, if you count him as a celebrity, Sen. Al Franken.
Silverman, one of Bernie Sanders’s earliest and biggest celebrity endorsers, told viewers at home that she would vote for Clinton with “gusto” (and scolded all the “ridiculous” Sanders diehards who had followed her lead for months, after they roundly booed her). Interesting speech for a comedian who once said that Sanders was a candidate who was “not for sale.” The whole thing was enough to make one silently cheer for Sanders holdout Susan Sarandon, who was spotted holding up an anti-TPP sign on the convention floor and who vowed earlier in the day that the Bernie “army” would march on.
But while the first day of the convention was amusing, the second day was practically insufferable.
The night’s official “host,” Pitch Perfect star Elizabeth Banks, heard crickets when she attempted to mock Donald Trump’s entrance at the RNC in Cleveland last week by coming out onstage to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” and a healthy supply of fog.
“That was over the top. I confirmed it just now,” Banks said, delivering a joke that late-night hosts and liberal talking heads had already beaten to death six days earlier.
Next up were actresses America Ferrera and Dunham, who teamed up for a joint speech. Dunham claimed Clinton as an advocate for her “fellow sexual assault survivors” despite possibly being the worst advocate for sexual assault survivors ever, and not just in Hollywood.
Singer Andra Day delivered a (well-executed) performance of her Grammy-nominated Black Lives Matter-inspired anthem, “Rise Up,” while Alicia Keys dedicated her night-closing performance of “Superwoman” to the mothers of the Black Lives Matter movement. And in between, three dozen of Clinton’s biggest Hollywood cheerleaders unveiled an a capella video of Rachel Platten’s hit “Fight Song,” the original of which has been a fixture at Clinton campaign rallies.
The DNC playbook in 2016 is the same as it was in 2008. Only the names have changed.
In 2008, it was Ben Affleck, Sheryl Crow, Susan Sarandon, Rosario Dawson and Stevie Wonder, while this year’s festivities feature Sigourney Weaver, Star Jones, Lee Daniels, Angela Bassett and Lenny Kravitz, all of whom are scheduled to speak or perform Wednesday night.
There is one key difference, though. Unlike Obama in 2008, Clinton is already a known quantity in 2016, and most of the adoring fans of these celebrities were likely going to vote for her anyway.
And even if they weren’t, these celebrities — many of them television actors like Dunham and Ferrera, who are far less known to the general public than movie stars like Streep — don’t have nearly the same level of influence they once did, thanks to an increasingly segmented media landscape.
What is more likely — though far from guaranteed given the utter unpredictability of this year’s race — is that the Democrats’ plan will backfire; after all, who wants to listen to a bunch of rich, spoiled, out of touch, protected-by-armed-guards “celebrities” tell you how to vote?
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum