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Is Nixon the celebrity anti Trump we need?

  • 27 March 2018


When Cynthia Nixon released her campaign video showing she was running for governor of New York the excitement was instantaneous. Not because she was a woman, as there have been no female governors of the state, nor because she once played Miranda on Sex and the City, but because she spoke in a way that captured leftie hearts the world over.

As scenes of her walking down the streets of Manhattan — much like she did in the TV show she is famous for — intercut with images of her domestic and work life, she tells us how she was raised by a single mother in New York, and how she had spent her whole life in the city she loved. She also mentions how passionate she is about public schooling, and how she sent her own children to a public school.

This last statement brought Nixon extra kudos because while many left leaning celebrities and politicians will throw their support behind public schooling, they themselves rarely send their children to public schools.

But despite what she said, many couldn't look past the fact that this person, intending to get into serious politics, was most famous for being an actress. What qualifications did someone like that have to be a governor of a major city? Or, as Carrie Bradshaw may have said herself, 'I couldn't help but wonder, was Miranda really in over her head?'

Still, it does seem that Americans love their celebrity politicians. Trump, of course, is the most recent and obvious example. But there is also Schwarzenegger, who was governor of California for two terms; Reagan, who was arguably one of the most beloved of US presidents (especially for conservatives); Sonny Bono, who was a mayor of Palm Springs and a congressman; and wrestler Jesse Ventura, who served as governor of Minnesota. And since the Golden Globes there has been buzz that one of the biggest celebrities of all, Oprah, should run for president.

The reason the public and the press is interested by celebrities in politics is because people generally find politics boring. They don't trust politicians. And it doesn't help that most political parties, whether in the US or here in Australia, seem to be dominated by identikit white men in suits. So when someone like Cynthia Nixon steps into the fray, she is of course going to attract attention.

While celebrity may get Nixon the attention she needs, there are