Hollywood's last minute push to get out the vote in Georgia

What’s an election these days without some hot takes from Hollywood celebrities? Today is a very important election day in Georgia with the balance of the U.S. Senate at stake. Hollywood is begging Georgia voters to get out and vote blue.

Some last-ditch efforts from celebrities and others in LaLa Land include virtual fundraisers and tweets. They love a hashtag so the #RepublicansDontCare one is popular, which tells you the focus of their messages. Well, no one said these folks are intellectual giants. They memorize and recite the words written for them for a living. The usual suspects are all-in.

Actor Bradley Whitford raised money for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin last fall, as did many others of the cast of The West Wing and he hosted a virtual fundraiser Sunday with filmmaker Jordan Peele. It was called Get Out the Vote: A Conversation With Jordan Peele and the proceeds went to the Democratic Party of Georgia. The conversation was about them, of course, but also delved into racial issues. Both men spoke about filming Get Out in Alabama. Peele won an Oscar for best original screenplay for that movie in 2018. He specifically addressed his working relationship with members of the crew who were “obvious Trump supporters”.

Whitford and Peele also recounted the experience of shooting Get Out in Alabama in a much different America than the divisive country that has emerged under President Donald Trump. Whitford noted that there were members of the crew that were obvious Trump supporters but that tensions did not boil over in the way that they have in the more recent years of his presidency, which has included a rise in hate crimes and racial violence.

“We shot [the film] with people who were of different political persuasions and it was cool. I liked them. I liked the people down there,” Peele recalled. “There was this feeling of America that was still happening where we have different beliefs and I may even kinda think you’re racist but we’re stuck here and we’re going to be cordial to one another and hey, maybe we might even connect. There were all these possibilities. The vibe shifted…it’s crazy, even as soon as he was voted out, all of a sudden it felt like I could fuck with them again now that he’s gone.”

It doesn’t get more condescending than that, does it? All Trump voters are racists, especially those in a red state like Alabama. Whitford ended the fundraiser by asking viewers to text friends and family on the ground in Georgia to remind them to vote. Other high-profile celebrities doing last-minute events to raise money included Oprah who teamed up with Black Lives Matter for a Zoom call. Some celebrities traveled to Georgia to canvas voters and offer rides to the polls today.

My question is – how did all that Hollywood support for Democrat candidates work out in past elections? Beto O’Rourke was a darling of entertainers and high-power producers and directors when he ran for the U.S. Senate against Ted Cruz. Cruz won. How about Stacey Abrams’ run for the governorship of Georgia? Oprah supported both O’Rourke and Abrams, even flying to Georgia to do a town hall with Abrams, yet Abrams lost to Governor Kemp. At least Beto conceded and hasn’t cried voter suppression since that election.

Stacey Abrams has turned her energy into registering voters and getting them to vote. She’s been successful, too, with a record turn-out from Democrats last November. We’ll see how her efforts do in a run-off race when Trump isn’t on the ballot as a boogeyman for Democrat voters.

Debra Messing referenced the tape of the phone call between Trump and the Georgia Secretary of State.

At this point, all the outsiders can do is offer rides to the polls. Actor Mark Ruffalo did that, not by offering a phone number as Kerry Washington did but by reminding them that they can get a ride with Lyft for free.

There were lots of music events for Democrat supporters on Sunday, including some that were organized by Michelle Obama. Funny, I don’t remember a whole lot of love for Georgia when the Obamas were in the White House.

On Sunday, Live for Live Music in partnership with HeadCount presented “Georgia Comes Alive,” a virtual music festival that raised more than $170,000. Featuring performances by more than 50 artists and acts, the event supported grassroots organizations like Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda and CivicGeorgia with the help of such artists as David Matthews, Foo Fighters, Big Freedia, Nathaniel Rateliff, Ben Folds, Musiq Soulchild, Amos Lee, Portugal. The Man, and the debut of The Lame Ducks, a one-off supergroup featuring Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Jeff Chimenti (Dead & Company) and Jay Lane (Primus).

Also on Sunday, Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote hosted “Celebrate Georgia!”, a drive-in concert experience in partnership with Live Nation Urban, ONE Musicfest, the New Georgia project, BET, More Than a Vote, and others. Held at the Cellairis Ampitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta, the event featured co-chairs like Obama, Janelle Monae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington and Chris Paul along with ambassadors Jeezy, Common, Jidenna, Criss, Sophia Bush and others. Performers and hosts included Monica, Rick Ross, DJ Drama, Jack Harlow, Pastor Troy and others.

Uh oh. I think we’ve found some voter suppression – Tyler Perry flew back to Georgia to vote, he said, because he never received his absentee ballot. He said the election is “too important to miss.” I think we can all agree with that. Some of us just want the other party to win the two seats in the Senate. Depending on the results of this election, maybe Democrats will come up with a more original slogan next time around.