7 Celebrities Who Won Political Office, Proving A Kanye Presidency Isn't So Far-Fetched After All
He's "not no politician, bro," but he wants to be your next-next president. If Kanye West really does want to run for president in 2020, he'll likely want to take a hint from one of these seven celebrities who also ran for political office — and won. On Sunday, West epically turned an awards' show acceptance speech into a quasi-presidential campaign announcement (and you thought you'd seen it all when Donald Trump announced, HA). After a nearly 13-minute speech about his hatred of award shows, his love of the arts, and his passion for ideas, West closed his speech with, "I have decided in 2020 to run for president." (Although, to be fair, he also admitted that he was at least slightly high, so who really knows what to make of his declaration.)
We often think of politicians, particularly presidents, as their own breed of celebrity. They're famous in the sense that they are household names, they have buildings named after them, and they are globally recognized as powerful human beings, yet we often hold them to different standards than the likes of Yeezus. After all, Ye can admit he's high and no one cares; something tells me that wouldn't fly with President Obama. Yet throughout history, some celebrities have bridged the gap successfully — successfully enough for one term, at least.
1. Ronald Reagan
Perhaps the most significant jump from red carpet to Oval Office, Reagan appeared in 53 Hollywood movies before being elected governor of California and, later, president of the United States. As president, he left the country with lasting impressions, including policies like Reaganomics and quotes like, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger, aka the "Governator," went from badass movie protagonist to just plain badass when he was elected governor of California in 2003. In some ways, Schwarzenegger's run paralleled that of Trump: He ran in a crowded field of candidates, which probably allowed his instant name recognition to help propel him forward. Schwarzenegger has better hair, though.
3. Clint Eastwood
Before he was telling kids to get off his lawn in Gran Torino (and directing any number of blockbusters), Eastwood briefly served as mayor of his small California town Carmel from 1986 to 1988. Good news for West, Eastwood managed to balance his movie career and his mayoral career simultaneously — his fifth Dirty Harry movie came out in 1988.
4. Sonny Bono
Sonny and Cher didn't last forever, but for his part, Bono went on to serve as mayor of Palm Springs, California, from 1988 to 1992. He then went on to represent his state in the House of Representatives in 1994. While in the House, he worked to improve copyright law — something that West might appreciate as a supporter of artistic expression and artists' freedom.
5. Jesse Ventura
Pro-wrestler-turned-Minnesota-governor Ventura launched his political career when he was elected mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, in 1990, beating out the 18-year incumbent. Like many politicians, especially those who don't have a celebrity background to run on, Ventura has a history of military service: He served as a Navy SEAL during Vietnam.
6. Jerry Springer
Is it possible that his TV show isn't the most dramatic part of Springer's career? Before transitioning TV work, Springer was very active in local politics in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served five terms on City Council and two terms as mayor. He then ran for governor but was unsuccessful.
7. Al Franken
An early star on Saturday Night Live (he started with the show before it even gained the "live" in its title), Franken now serves as a senator from Minnesota. He's got some experience that West doesn't, though — Franken graduated from Harvard.
There's no doubt that a presidential election would be a stretch for someone as polarizing as Yeezus. (Then again, Trump seems to be faring just fine.) At the very least, West would add some desperately needed diversity to this list.
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