Should Celebrities Be Barred From Politics? We Asked, You Answered

Why you should care

Because fame and competence don’t always go together.

OZY's electrifying TV show serves up provocative questions each week. OZY's electrifying TV show serves up provocative questions each week. We want to hear your thoughts:

Last week, we askedShould celebrities be banned from running for office? You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity.

Dianne L. Stewart Gist, Scotia, New York

We should vet each person before they run for office. FBI check, tax check, drug test, physical and mental exam, just common-sense background checks that you go through to get a government job. Demonstrate a degree of understanding the Constitution.

Barbara Gordon, Philomath, Oregon

No, we shouldn’t “ban” celebrities from running for office. At the same time, voters shouldn’t be voting for celebrities who have not demonstrated competence. But, of course, that is the problem. Too many voters are easily duped. Any celebrity who has demonstrated an understanding of the issues and an actual plan or idea for dealing with the issues should be given a chance, just as any non-celebrity with the same understanding should. The problem is not the celebrities so much as it is their followers/fans who vote for them.

Peggy Reeve

Yes, please make it an amendment! [I’m] tired of these show people who don’t know anything about governing. Make them turn in a résumé, and choose accordingly.

Lee Willis

Any ban is an infringement on the rights of the people. The elites are already working the system to get only more swamp creatures elected.

Amy Kolesar, Canton, Ohio

We should ban anyone who has never lived as one of the 98 percent. While I don’t think most celebrities are “qualified” to hold a political position, neither are most who are already elected. A little compassion, empathy and reality are the true qualifications I seek in any candidate, whatever [their] party.


Steven Samnick, Burke, Virginia 

They have every right to run for any office for which they meet the criteria, just like you or me. There are a lot of people who feel that celebrities should just stick to their jobs and shut up, and not use their celebrity status/platform for anything other than promoting themselves or [their] shows, movies, etc. Not even charities. To which I say, “Seriously?” They only say this because the vast majority of celebrities are “liberals” in their minds. So, given the current political climate of hating the opposition (to the point of believing they shouldn’t even be allowed to vote), they just don’t want to hear what they [celebrities] have to say. 

Linda Molitor, St. Paul, Minnesota

I don’t want to limit who can run because I don’t like it being just career politicians. They should have some screening for health, psychological fitness and criminal record and full disclosure of financial records. 

Brittany Harrington, Moscow, Idaho

No one should be banned from running for office. While I think that a majority of celebrities lack the competence and experience to be national leaders, stardom may be the only way some minorities or marginalized groups could otherwise get their names out there. The greater problem is the dual-party system wherein the Republican and Democratic parties have become like corporate juggernauts forcing their agendas on the people instead of representing our interests. But back to celebrities: If the country wants to elect a celebrity, then the country deserves them as a leader.

Dan Ehrlich, London

Donald Trump is an aberration — a celeb who knew how to tap into deep-seated racial and social divisions in America. Normally a celebrity with his baggage would have been killed off right after the Access Hollywood “pussy grabbing” tape. The fact he wasn’t is an indictment of American hypocrisy. 

Celebrities have a great record of success because the public often feels it knows them and trusts them. Reagan, Arnie [Arnold Schwarzenegger], [Al] Franken, [Bill] Bradley, [Jesse] Ventura, [George] Murphy, all cashed in on their celebrity status. And given the political activism and intelligence of some, having them in office might be a welcome change. But the real problem is that not many major names will trade the big bucks and fantasy world of showbiz for the relatively low-paying reality of politics. 

Andrea Albert

I wish one could ban celebrities, children and other relatives of past presidents, and religious leaders of any kind. But we can’t do that.

Vivian T. Dahir

Anyone who gets paid to act should never be in politics — cheap Hollywood tricks do not belong in government. Reagan was an exception. A test should be given on all areas of government before allowing [actors] to run.

Brenda Ford, Bruceville, Indiana

Not every candidate has to have received a law degree, taught constitutional law and been a senator, as well as understanding the needs of real people by being a community organizer, like [former] President Obama, but they should at very least be able to pass the test immigrants are required to pass to become U.S. citizens.

Irene Mills

We the voters have to take some responsibility. Demanding term limits and banning certain groups of people from running for office is a lazy way out of doing our job, which is to be generally informed on the issues and paying attention to where candidates are getting their funding. 

Gilly Flower

We should put a limit on the net worth, not celebrity. If they want to be a politician they need to spend down their estate below $100,000,000. We the people need to be represented by people who know what it is like to live in our shoes.

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