The year 2018 has fostered an incredibly divisive and intense political climate in America. Most political and social issues, whether they be at the local, state, or federal levels, are met with fierce opinions on either end of the partisan spectrum. More so now than ever, people are speaking up about the causes they support, the policies they oppose, and how they believe our government should change at every level in order to improve the country's circumstances. Therefore, it's no surprise there is a sudden influx of celebrities expressing their political sentiments, including some celebrities that were never notably political before.
Celebrities are speaking up about issues, candidates, or policies that they feel warrant discussion and some are even choosing to run for political positions themselves. In some ways, this trend of celebrity political protests is nothing new; stars have been expressing their political views for decades, dating as far back as the beginning of Hollywood movie making. Now, however, the ubiquity of social media outlets like Twitter means celebrities can be more outspoken than ever, allowing them to partake in the widespread cultural discussion surrounding our political climate. From Chrissy Teigen to LeBron James, an unprecedented number of celebs are making their voices heard. Below is a list of famous people who got into politics this year. Be sure to vote on which ones have demonstrated a particularly dramatic increase in political involvement.
Known primarily for his role as Kane in the WWE, Glenn Jacobs announced his candidacy for Knox County mayor in April 2017. Jacobs, who successfully gained the Republican nomination, became even more political in 2018 after winning the election when he defeated his opponent two-to-one in August 2018.
Though he hasn’t officially ended his wrestling career, Jacobs utilized his athletic fame to boost his draw during his campaign. He cites the success of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, both of whom he considered to be “outside of the establishment,” as his motivation for choosing to run for office.
Birthplace: Vernon, Connecticut, United States of America
Profession: Television producer
While Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon has always advocated for political causes like legalizing same sex marriage and bettering public education, she took a deeper dive into politics in 2018 when she announced her candidacy for governor of New York in a tweet (above). Citing healthcare, mass incarceration, and the subway system as necessary points of change in the state, Nixon is already in the primary and could potentially end up the state's next governor.
Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York
Profession: Actor, Voice acting
3 more days to #NationalNightOut! The biggest neighborhood security event of the year is back on August 7, and I’ll be making a special appearance along with my friend @JamieSiminoff from @ring at one secret location. Can you guess where I’m gonna be? https://t.co/vu3adLhJ4y pic.twitter.com/2MDRr6GMaD— SHAQ (@SHAQ) August 4, 2018
Career-wise, famed basketball player Shaquille O’Neal has generally remained faithful to the world of sports, save for several forays into cinematic stardom. In May 2017, however, Shaq announced in an interview with 11Alive News that he would be running for Sheriff in 2020. While he did not specify where he would run, he has residences in in both Henry County, GA, and in Florida, either of which would qualify him for such candidacy.
In his interview, O’Neal also provided a somewhat unconventional answer when asked about his reasoning in this decision:
This is not about politics. This is about bringing people closer together. You know, when I was coming up, people love and respected the police, the deputies. And I want to be the one to bring that back, especially in the community I serve.
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States of America
Profession: Basketball player, Rapper, Television producer, Real estate entrepreneur, Film Producer, + more
So grateful to @realDonaldTrump, Jared Kushner & to everyone who has showed compassion & contributed countless hours to this important moment for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson. Her commutation is inspirational & gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance.— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 6, 2018
In 2015, Kim Kardashian expressed her support for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a tweet. Though her husband, Kanye West, has frequently expressed his support for Donald Trump, and though Kim was at times hesitant to state her candidate alliance, Kim clarified in a 2016 interview with Wonderland magazine and in a post on her personal website that she “stands with Hillary.”
After Trump took office, Kardashian made the surprising choice to attempt to work with the president despite their disagreements. In May 2018, she had a meeting at the White House with President Trump to talk about prison reform. She also requested a pardon for Alice Marie Johnson, a first time offender serving a life sentence over a nonviolent drug offense. Kardashian's plea was successful and Trump pardoned Johnson just a week later. Kardashian went on to say in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that she had nothing bad to say about the president.
Prior to the heavily publicized White House meeting, Kardashian had gotten political earlier in the year. In March 2018, Kim and Kanye attended the March for Our Lives walk in Washington D.C. along with their daughter, North, to protest gun violence.
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Profession: Fashion designer, Businessperson, Television producer, Entrepreneur, Model, + more