American Politics in Hollywood
Updated: Nov 13, 2021
Even though the American elections are over and a winner has seen the light of day, the nation has never been more indecisive and divided. One particular industry that does not shy away from their political views is Hollywood. Usually, Hollywood is well known for expressing their freedom of vote but, despite being liberal, they have not always been in favor of democracy. Hollywood is the medium to communicate American politics by influencing cultural constructions of American identity; it is a real-life depiction of the debates between Democrats and Republicans.
Pop culture is a political tool used to either control the situation or resist it. When a project diversifies its cast, it is a Democratic move. And when the movie has been censored or is too patriotic, it is a Republican production. It seems funny, but what a large number of people don’t realize is how this could impact the elections and change the game for Hollywood. When a TV show makes a joke about Trump or presents overly explicit sexual content, it is a means of supporting the Democrat party. It also helps viewers to determine whom they want to vote for President. I mean why, would anyone want to vote for a President always mocked on “Saturday Night Live”?
On the other hand, the overwhelming Democratic nature of Hollywood and how it endorses liberal values and looks down upon anything else could drastically change another person’s world, as it did for Chris Pratt. According to the Washington Post, Chris Pratt went to a church that was homophobic and people, therefore, assumed he was a Trump supporter. It may not necessarily be a bad thing, especially in America where there is freedom of speech, but when everyone in Hollywood pictures Biden to be standing where the grass is greener on the other side, it makes things quite inconvenient. Democrats are portrayed positively in Hollywood- the party argues for advocating for diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. It creates an idealistic view of the Democrats in the eyes of the consumers of pop culture.
Over the last century, accessibility for people of different racial and economic backgrounds has increased due to the emergence of theatres and streaming services. However, it led to a concern for the middle-class white Americans about the industry’s celebration of diverse culture.
Trump was already a celebrity due to his well-established business career. Regardless of his non-existent political background, people liked him due to his celebrity status. His journey is an example of a major success story: a famous businessman becomes the President of the United States. In a story like this, whether the main character is relatable or horrible, Trump is very entertaining with his unconventional political style of caricaturing his opponents and therefore appealing to the masses.
This similar success story also resembles that of Ronald Reagen. His success going from being a former actor to the President guaranteed him a place in the limelight. Reagan’s journey formed this Republican-Hollywood connection which Trump seems to have revived. By already being famous, they have this extra advantage where they are not only able to reach more voters through the media, but also through a certain camera charisma that the other politicians lack. This idea of promoting your party and its presidency on TV, such as coming on live shows or inviting celebrities to your campaigns, has never been so interconnected.
The significance of actors and their political views has been prominent since Nixon’s time which made Republicans seem like leaders but also not the typical conservatives portrayed in mainstream media. The Golden Age of Hollywood had mainly been glamour and patriotism as is shown through movies like, “Paths of Glory” (1957) and “They Were Expendable” (1945). Later on, the emergence of patriotism in the 1980s, for instance, Arnold Schwarzenegger being in the army, emphasized the pro-military Reagen-era nationalism. The continuous violent patriotic image portrayed in Hollywood normalizes the idea of patriotism as being violent for the sake of your country. Similarly, strategies used by the Democrats of multiculturalism diversify their casts and stories to normalize minorities and a realistic approach to America.
Entertainment and politics have never been separated as they both take advantage of each other. It has also come to the point where people will go to any extremes for the attention of their viewers: for example, Trump’s campaign using his life story which is personal yet necessary to get the votes you need. Whether it is good or bad, at the end of the day, that magnitude of attention led to Trump’s victory in 2016. He still seems to be successful as many voters despite all the protests and criticisms against him, still support him today. As they say, it doesn’t matter whether that person is good or bad, but through the medium of Hollywood, one can influence the politics of the nation, emphasizing how powerful and strong the relationship is still today.