The Democratic National Convention is featuring not only many of politic's biggest names, such as President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and former President Bill Clinton, but also Hollywood luminaries. A dozen A-list celebs — including starlets Lena Dunham,Demi Lovato, Chloe Grace Moretz, Katy Perry, Eva Longoria, Alicia Keys and more — will speak or appear in Philadelphia in support of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
Usually, the Democrats' ability to attract high profile celebrity endorsers is a strength: Millennials and others see the Democrats as the cool kids' party, and just as they mimic Hollywood fashion trends, they are supposed to take their cues for political preferences from larger-than-life celebrities, too.
Yet Democrats shouldn't bank on this phenomenon this year. Rather than an asset, the spectacle of millionaire celebrities hobnobbing with political elites reinforces the idea that the political system is run by and for one percenters — from big business to big media to political insiders — and regular Americans are given the shaft.
Bernie Sanders fans have particular reason to object to their party's panache for elitism. They are supposed to fall in line behind their party's nominee this week, but that's become an even more distasteful chore after reading the thousands of DNC emails released by a hacker, which confirm that the fix was in against their preferred primary candidate.
Simply put, Sanders never had a chance: The primaries were for show, and the party bosses — particularly Clinton bestie and former DNC head, Debbie Wasserman Shultz — were working behind the scenes to ensure Clinton's coronation, never mind what their peon primary voters might want. And it wasn't just the Democrat leadership that was in on the fix, some stalwarts of the supposedly objective press were also caught colluding with the Clinton camp.
None of this is a surprise to conservatives. The Right has longed complained about the media serving as Democrats' lapdogs, but those concerns have been dismissed as paranoid delusions. Now liberals who were out of favor with the party machine are seeing the process up close — how the media works with favorite pols to craft whatever narrative they all see as helping lead to the desired conclusion — and they are finding that it isn't pretty and it's very real.
American voters are in a distinctly throw-the-bums-out mood, and don't trust the mainstream media any more than the trust politicians. Many are dissatisfied with their choice this November: They don't want the scandal-plagued Hillary Clinton at the helm of power, but also aren't thrilled about a wild card like Donald Trump.
Ironically, the DNC's star-studded convention may encourage these unhappy, undecided voters to conclude that Clinton represents a greater threat to the country than Trump. After all, the mainstream media has already proven eager to pounce on any statements by Trump that suggest he would overstep the traditional power of the presidency. If, as president, Trump were to do something over the line — say by unilaterally rewriting immigration laws or using the IRS to punish political opponents or purposefully misleading the country about major legislation or international treaties — undoubtedly the media would forcefully push back and encourage Congress and the judiciary to intervene. Americans can also count on many Republicans, who have already withheld support from Trump, to cry foul and work to protect the institutions and constitutional framework from a power-hungry president.
Not so with Clinton. Just as the media has given the Obama administration a pass when it trampled on constitutional norms, rewrote law by executive fiat, mislead the public about proposed bills and treaties, and used agencies for political ends, these same media insiders are certain to look forgivingly on their pal Clinton. In fact, Clinton is the ultimate insider and uniquely beholden to all the other insiders — the bankers, foreign business leaders and heads of state — who have not only helped her rise to power and fueled her campaign, but even showered cash on her family personally.