Politicians are addicted to celebrity because it lends them something they don’t have – cultural capital. But it doesn’t always work out
The next president of the United States is still to be officially announced, but, at the time of writing, the Democrats are feeling confident that their man, Joe Biden, has what it takes to cross the line.
At first, it looked to be a long night for them, as Donald Trump showed promising numbers in the early stages, but, as former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders accurately predicted two weeks ago, the unprecedented amount of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic could take days to count, and with remote-voting in the US typically swinging in favour of the Democrats, it’s all to play for.
One thing that’s for certain is that the campaign trails (for both candidates) threw up some truly bizarre moments; just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any more dystopian, the US presidential election was there to step in and provide something unexpected. It’s been a stressful year for celebrity and influence – see Gal Gadot’s “Imagine”, an idea that shouldn’t have left the group chat, Kendall Jenner coming under fire for cramming guests into a restaurant during corona times, and a general malaise when it comes to luxury holidays pics posted while the world burns. That said, politicians are addicted to celebrity, as they perceive it to lend them something they don’t own – cultural capital, and cool.
Trump managed to wheel out an honestly disappointing amount of rappers to endorse him, while Biden declared himself as an employee of Lady Gaga.
Here’s a recap of some of the weirdest times that celebrity collided with the chase for the White House.
2 CHAINZ PERFORMING ‘I’M DIFFERENT’
2 Chainz recently performed at a Biden rally in his home state of Georgia, right on the eve of the election widely regarded as the most important of a generation. The rapper was joined by former president Barack Obama to try and sway voters in favour of the Democrats, in one of the key battleground states in the 2020 presidential race.
Georgia has a long history of voter suppression, especially within the Black population, and so 2 Chainz jumped on stage to persuade his fellow Georgians to back the Democrats. “Biden, Harris, they offer something different,” he said, before adding, “Without further ado, I’m something different…” He then unexpectedly launched into a performance of his 2012 hit “I’m Different” to a bewildered crowd. Who knew voting for the political status quo could feel so different?
BIDEN DANCING TO ‘DESPACITO’
In scenes eerily reminiscient of Theresa May awkwardly dancing to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”, Biden turned up to a Hispanic Heritage Month event in September, pressed play on Spotify, and did a little shimmey to Luis Fonsi’s 2019 Latin pop banger “Despecito” – famously remixed (and subsequently played on all commercial radio stations until your ears bled) by none other than America’s sweetheart, Justin Bieber. Watch it and cringe below.
LIL PUMP BEING CALLED LIL PIMP
Wary of the very real threat the Democrats pose to his position in the Oval Office, Trump pulled out all the stops on his 2020 campaign trail in an attempt to convince young voters that he’s still the man to lead the country forward. This included calling in a favour from the Florida rapper, and supposedly close friend, Lil Pump, who he invited to address his supporters at Grand Rapids, Michigan on Monday evening (November 2). When introducing the rapper, however, Trump called him “Lil Pimp” by mistake. Yep, close friends alright.
When he came to the stage, Lil Pump said: “Hello everybody how you guys feeling? I’ve come here to say, Mr President, I appreciate everything you have done for our country. You brought the troops home and are doing the right thing. MAGA 202020 (sic) don’t forget that!”
CHER SINGING A SONG FOR BIDEN
Cher sang a little song for Biden last month, during a livestreamed YouTube event in support of the Democratic candidate. Although the likes of P!nk, John Legend, Foo Fighters, and Jon Bon Jovi performed, Cher stole the show, closing with a cover of Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg’s classic, “Happiness is a Thing Called Joe”, tweaking the lyrics to shout out “President Joe”.
“He’s got a smile that makes the lilacs want to grow,” she sings as pictures of a grinning Biden fade in and out. “He’s got a way that makes the angels heave and sigh, when they know President Joe’s passing by.” Catch Cher’s cheeky little number below, and read Dazed’s guide to what’s happened in the election so far here.