Hollywood helps get people to the polls Hollywood helps get people to the polls
BY SASHEEN JOSEPH Tuesday, November 6 marks the U.S. midterm elections, a prominent yet unpopular event. The midterms occur every four years in between... Hollywood helps get people to the polls

BY SASHEEN JOSEPH

Tuesday, November 6 marks the U.S. midterm elections, a prominent yet unpopular event. The midterms occur every four years in between presidential elections and determine which party controls the two chambers of Congress. This election, it will determine which party has oversight power over President Trump and his administration.

On account of this, celebrities have used their platforms to actively encourage their fans to go out and vote. Some may see this in a negative light, disagreeing with the idea of pop culture and politics overlapping. But, in actuality, the two topics are more closely related than ever.

Looking back on the last midterm, Hollywood was not nearly as active as of recently. Before, it was more common for celebrities to focus on the fundraising aspect, simply donating money toward campaigns they support.

There has been a shift in celebrity involvement with political and societal issues. This spawned from events such as this past presidential election, the #MeToo movement and the appointment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Now, notable figures in the entertainment business are taking center-stage through direct endorsements and promotions of candidates, instead of supporting them through their pocketbooks.

Stars such as Yara Shahidi, Tracee Ellis Ross, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Jada Pinkett Smith, Common and Tom Hanks are prominent members of the organization When We All Vote. Organized by Michelle Obama, When We All Vote aims to raise voter registration and participation.

Along with this movement, artists such as Taylor Swift and Rihanna have taken it upon themselves to voice how much every vote in this next midterm election counts.

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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

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Celebrities are without a doubt some of the most influential members of society. According to Elina Halonen‐Knight, a Market Research Consultant of London, one in five ads across the globe features a celebrity.

As for how much of an impact Hollywood stars will have on this upcoming election, studies show it depends on the celebrity and if their message aligns with their audience.

For instance, according to The Conversation, “Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Obama in 2008 was found to increase overall voter participation and number of contributions received by Obama, and an estimated overall one million additional votes.

With the combination of a credible celebrity and a moving message, things have the potential to change. Without celebrity endorsements, many would ignore monumental events such as the midterms. But, as they become more aware, elected representatives will reflect the will of the people. The presidential election is decided by the electoral college, however, the midterm candidates are brought into power by the majority of the people. Representatives decide what laws are approved and what can change. Celebrities should encourage their fans to elect those that they feel can best do this incredibly important job.   

Photo courtesy of Variety