Endorsed by a celebrity? Then you probably lost
I have always been suspicious of political endorsements. The newspapers are filled with letters from people endorsing one candidate or another, usually Democrats endorsing Democrats and Republicans endorsing Republicans, hardly shocking. Sometimes people endorse one candidate by trashing their opponent. I don’t know if this works or not; in fact, I have a theory that the more letters that are for a candidate or position, the least likely it is that they will win. This is based on the KDT (Kollinger Dislike Theor y), which is that while you may like the candidate, the odds are (the more that are written in) that you will not like one of their endorsees.
Celebrity endorsements always make news, although I’m not sure exactly why. A movie or rock star who may or may not have finished high school and makes their living either impersonating others or rhyming words doesn’t seem to have a lot in common with me, nor do they seem politically astute. But let’s look at some of this year’s endorsements by celebrities and see how they did.
Oprah Winfrey went to Georgia to endorse Stacey Abrams for governor. She spoke at events for her and knocked on doors. Abrams lost.
John Legend, the singer, said of Abrams, “She’s an awesome woman, an awesome leader, and an awesome politician.” But apparently not enough to win.
Amy Schumer, the comedienne, took a more national view and supported Abrams in Georgia (lost), Gillum in Florida (lost), Bredesen in Tennesee (lost) and Gillibrand in New York (won). A winning percentage of 25 percent, not even good enough to manage the Orioles.
Which was the same percentage as T.I. (I don’t know who this is, but apparently he’s a celebrity.) T.I. endorsed Abrams (lost), Gillum (lost), Jealous (lost) and Ayana Pressley in Maine, who won.
Taylor Swift did a little better. She endorsed Bredesen and Cooper in Tennessee. Bredesen lost, but Cooper won, giving the singer a 50 percent winning percentage.
Which was better than comedian Dave Chappelle, who endorsed Ben Jealous for governor of Maryland, going so far as to knock on doors to convince voters to go with his guy. It didn’t work as Jealous got hammered by incumbent Larry Hogan. Meek Mill was one for one when he endorsed Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. He liked Wolf’s position on prison reform, which Meek Mill is apparently familiar. I don’t know who Meek Mill is.
Cher was zero for one when she endorsed Native American Paulette Jordan for governor of Idaho.
Andrew Gillum lost in his bid to be the first African-American governor of Florida. This despite being endorsed by Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Diddy, T.I. and Amy Schumer.
In Texas, Beto O’Rourke, who was a favorite of the national media and who raised $ 40 million, lost in his Senate race to Ted Cruz. Beto had been endorsed by LeBron James. Unbelievably, Beto lost after being endorsed by Willie Nelson. In Texas.
Strangely, companies hire these same people to help them sell their products.
Locally, Wayne Gilchrest endorsed Jesse Colvin, ensuring his crushing defeat at the hands of Andy Harris. Wayne has become the Typhoid Mary of political endorsements.
I wait until after the elections to endorse candidates, and to let them know I’ve always been there for them.