Democratic convention plan: Bring in the celebrities

Donald Trump has gotten a lot of flack for running a reality-TV influenced campaign but the Democrats are working to make sure they have plenty of A-list entertainers at their convention in Philadelphia next month. Politico reports:

Democratic operatives planning next month’s national convention in Philadelphia have reached out to Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony Award-winning writer and star of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” about performing at the Wells Fargo Center, sources told POLITICO.

It’s part of an ambitious plan to generate excitement and boost television viewership for the party convention after what Democrats expect to be a four-day reality show at the Republican convention in Cleveland.

Again, note the framing here. Democrats, who routinely tout endorsements and feature performances from Hollywood stars, are suddenly concerned the other guy turning politics into a TV show. And that means they are going to do the same thing only with bigger stars, starting with Barack Obama and moving down the long line of liberal celebrities:

Clinton has no shortage of celebrities to choose from. Pop stars like Katy Perry, Demi Lovato and Christina Aguilera have performed at fundraisers and campaign rallies…

Beyoncé has also attended a Clinton fundraiser. Hollywood power brokers like Steven Spielberg, Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Rob Reiner are all backing Clinton. Oprah Winfrey announced her endorsement last week. And comedians like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham have acted as stalwart campaign surrogates.

“They won’t have a lack of entertainment,” said a close Clinton ally.

The LA Times has actually created a list of celebrity endorsements for various candidates. As of May 13th the paper lists 72 celebrities who have endorsed Clinton. If she wanted, Clinton could have Beyonce sing a duet with Lady Gaga with Elton John on keys, Jon Bon Jovi on guitar and Sting on bass. Midway through Kanye West could interrupt and promise to let them finish. And that still wouldn’t put a dent in the number of big stars who are vocally on Clinton’s side.

Democrats have always had a massive advantage with celebs and they’ve been explicitly appealing to the celebrity-minded audience at least since Bill Clinton played the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show back in 1992.

The truth is that all these celebrities are needed this year because Hillary Clinton just has not appealed to younger voters, many of whom are still in the Sanders’ camp. So getting Katy Perry on stage to make the pitch for Clinton makes perfect sense. But let’s not pretend this is some new idea or a reaction to Donald Trump. Democrats have been playing the celebrity card for decades because it works.