In Hollywood, who will – and won't – back Hillary Clinton? (+video)
A number of celebrities have already said they're ready to support the former first lady, US senator, and secretary of State. But there are others who are ready to go in a different direction.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is pitching herself as the champion for "everyday Americans," but she's already getting attention from a group far removed from ordinary Americans – Hollywood celebrities.
Barely had Mrs. Clinton announced her candidacy on Sunday than a host of celebrities emerged to show their support for the candidate on social media.
Among them were actors Amy Poehler, Kerry Washington, America Ferrera, Jennifer Lopez, Olivia Wilde, and Lena Dunham; musical artists Carole King, Clay Aiken, and Katy Perry; basketball pro Magic Johnson; model and celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi; and drag queen RuPaul.
Tinseltown's support for Clinton goes beyond social media mentions. Hollywood's top leaders, including Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, have also pledged their support, likely in the form of millions of dollars of campaign cash.
"I've got an inbox full of people offering to hold events for Hillary," Andy Spahn, a political consultant who advises Mr. Katzenberg and Mr. Spielberg, told the Los Angeles Times. "There is great respect and admiration and excitement around Hillary and also a very clear understanding of what the stakes are."
According to reports, Clinton fundraisers are already in the works in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. And Tinseltown turns out big money in elections.
The entertainment industry raised about $51 million during the 2008 election cycle, 79 percent of which went to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. For the 2012 cycle, it raised nearly $66 million, some 73 percent of which benefited Democrats.
Not everyone in Hollywood backed Clinton in 2008. This time around, she can expect unprecedented support.
That's because in 2008, Clinton faced competition from the likes of Barack Obama.
"In 2008, there were two green-light actors vying for the lead role," Democratic political consultant Chris Lehane told the LA Times. "In 2016, there is one green-light actor vying for the lead role, which makes it very easy for those in show business to know where they are going on this."
And there's also more interest this time in electing the first woman president – a cause Hollywood is happy to rally around.
Of course, there is the danger that too much Hollywood hobnobbing can backfire for Clinton, especially in a campaign in which she is trying to appeal to working class voters. Clinton's campaign rollout video cast the candidate as a champion for everyday Americans, and a strategic 1,000-mile road trip with a pit stop at Chipotle for lunch helped further the narrative of Hillary as an everywoman candidate.
During his campaign and early presidency, Republicans used Obama's Hollywood support to accuse him of caring more about his celebrity than about the country, and Clinton must be careful to avoid the same criticism, especially because the Clintons have well-established Hollywood connections.
Some of the industry's more progressive liberals view Clinton as too moderate and have expressed hope for Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
"I hope Elizabeth Warren comes in and does a primary, because I think that would be good," actor Mark Ruffalo said in a video.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia joked about his loyalties on Twitter.
And some famous Hollywood conservatives, like Jon Voight and Clint Eastwood, are expected to pull for whomever wins the Republican nomination.
But by and large, Hollywood, which leans famously liberal, wants to ensure a Democrat gets elected.
"Republicans have both houses of Congress, and we are being treated to the prospect of the tea party and right-wing Republicans advocating things that are distinctly unpopular around here," Los Angeles-based Democratic political strategist Donna Bojarsky told the LA Times. "The passion for ensuring the election for a Democrat will be extremely high — it will almost be an obsession."