Prior to getting hit by the Trump Train on election night, Hillary Clinton thought she could wrap up several swing states by bringing Hollywood’s biggest names on to the campaign trail. The strategy, however, backfired.
In every state where she held a rally with a big-name celebrities, Hillary Clinton lost that state. Even when that state was historically Democratic. While pundits would argue that celebrities do motivate young voters (which benefits Democrats), others argue that in a highly polarized culture, some voters suffering election fatigue may be put off by seeing their favorite celebrities go political.
Let’s review the major rallies Hillary Clinton held in the days leading up to the election, and how bringing out the big celebrity guns paid off.
November 4, Cleveland, OH (Beyonce and Jay-Z) – LOST
Beyonce and Jay-Z held a “get-out-the-vote” concert for Hillary, in a state that she desperately needed. Even NBA champion Lebron James was backing Hillary. It did npt have the desired effect. According to Cleveland.com, while Hillary did win Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County, she received fewer votes than Barack Obama did in either of his two elections. Donald Trump carried the state by nearly ten points.
November 5, Philadelphia, PA (Katy Perry) – LOST
Katy Perry, who has been a staunch Democratic supporter for years, has made several appearances on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton, but she couldn’t win over the heart of the rust belt. Donald Trump carried the state by nearly 100,000 votes. That is less than a percentage point, but for a state that has been Democratic blue for decades, it was a shock.
November 7 – Philadelphia, PA (Bruce Springsteen) – LOST
After Katy Perry made her pitch, Bruce Springsteen, the “working-class rock star,” showed up in the state to win over the union vote. He also has appeal to voters who grew up in the 1980s, but as we mentioned before, it did not work. Clinton did win the urban centers, including Philadelphia itself, but if Springsteen did have any influence, it did not extend to smaller towns and rural areas. In those counties, Trump beat Hillary by a nearly 2 to 1 margin.
November 8, Raleigh, NC (Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi) – LOST
Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi dove into North Carolina, which the polls said was turning blue. It’s hard to imagine Gaga appealing to the traditional families that make up much of North Carolina’s population. Considering Trump won the state by nearly 200,000 votes, I think we have the answer. Clinton did win the urban centers, but Trump was competitive in those areas as well. Trump then won the rural counties by more than 10 points, putting some distance between himself and Clinton. Hillary also underperformed with women and independents – Trump earned 45% of female voters, and 54% of independents, according to CNN.
November 8 – New York City, NY (Katy Perry and Barbra Streisand) – WON
We included New York City here, even though New York isn’t technically a swing state. Hillary could have shown up with the pizza-carrying NYC subway rat and still carry the state by ten points. However, we include it only to mention that on election night, her celebrities bailed on her. Katy Perry was supposed to sing the national anthem at the election night rally, but bailed after Hillary lost. Streisand reportedly arrived at the election night rally, saw the results on the video screen, and turned around and left. We also get to include this photo of actresses Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, and Amy Schumer, all showing their displeasure as the votes rolled in.
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