First off, the title here is a tad misleading. If the last 13 months or so has taught us anything, it’s that electing a celebrity President with zero political experience on his or her resume is suboptimal. Honestly, most of us knew that before Donald Trump got elected, but no need to get caught up in details. Anyway, the point is that this is less about whether these celebrities should be President and more about whether they could be elected.
Anyway, Trump’s shocking Election Day victory in November of 2016 has caused many to wonder whether this was the beginning of a new Hollywood-to-Washington trend. With Trump having successfully cultivated a devout base of followers thanks in large part to being a celebrity, might others follow in his footsteps?
The furor reached new heights during the 2018 Golden Globes when Oprah Winfrey sparked the crowd during her rousing acceptance speech after earning the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Reviews of Oprah’s speech were so positive that it immediately led to people speculating whether Winfrey would run for President in 2020.
Winfrey has reportedly entertained the notion regarding making a run for office in 2020, though she has not confirmed whether she will or won’t at this point. If Oprah does decide to run, one would imagine she could give Trump a decent run for his money. If she declines to run, however, might another celebrity throw his/her hat into the ring?
There’s a lengthy list of potential candidates to win the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. The majority of the list is comprised of classic politicians, but there are a few names from the world of entertainment with legitimate betting odds. Let’s roll through a few potential celebrity candidates.
Leonardo DiCaprio +10000
At +10000, Leo finds himself with the same odds to win the 2020 election as people like Ivanka Trump, Rand Paul and Caroline Kennedy. One of these things is not like the others. Despite being one of the biggest names in Hollywood, DiCaprio tends to keep a low profile in public.
Whenever he is spotted out in the wild, DiCaprio is typically wearing a baseball cap low over his eyes along with sunglasses, as if he’s trying to hide. Unfortunately for DiCaprio, it rarely works. It’s hard to stay on the down-low when you’re that famous.
While he tries to live a private life, DiCaprio has been known to have some political interests. Climate change shouldn’t be a political issue, but that’s what it has become. A month after Trump was elected, the President-elect reportedly met with DiCaprio in order to discuss climate change.
Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, released a statement on the meeting that said, “We presented the President-elect and his advisors with a framework…that details how to unleash a major economic revival across the United States that is centered on investments in sustainable infrastructure. Our conversation focused on how to create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation.”
Before he took office, pundits wondered aloud whether Trump would take a more centrist stance upon being elected. He ran a hard-right campaign, but, considering he once considered himself to be a Democrat, it was fair to speculate on what kind of President he would be.
A year in, it’s safe to say Trump is the same guy he was on the campaign trail. His administration has been about as far-right as you can get, which must not sit too well with someone like DiCaprio, who seemed optimistic that Trump could take a liberal stance on something like the climate.
DiCaprio made headlines during his acceptance speech for winning Best Actor at the 2016 Academy Awards, when he harped on how change needs to be made regarding the way we treat the climate. DiCaprio said, “Making ‘The Revenant’ was about a man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow.” He went on to say that “climate change is real” and that “we need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for big polluters.”
DiCaprio is clearly passionate about the subject, so what better way to inspire change than to run for political office?
Mark Cuban +5000
Mark Cuban doesn’t come with the global name recognition that someone like Leonardo DiCaprio does, though most Americans likely know who he is by now. Cuban is the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and the star of the television reality show, “Shark Tank.”
Cuban first became a big name thanks to his outspoken ways as owner of the Mavs. Most NBA owners tend to keep to themselves, but Cuban has always been an exception. He’ll constantly chide referees from his courtside seat at the games, and he’s been fined a number of times by the NBA for a variety of comments.
Cuban has also reportedly toyed with the idea of running for President. Back in October of 2017, Cuban told Business Insider that if he were to run, it would likely be as a Republican. He also added that on a scale of 1-10, Cuban said his likelihood of running in 2020 is 4. If he gets his wife’s support, that number goes up to 5.
You won’t often see members of the incumbent party challenge a sitting President for reelection, but Donald Trump obviously isn’t your standard Republican President. He has been divisive to a point at which members of his own party haven’t been afraid to call him out on certain issues.
Cuban also seems to have a general idea of how Trump was able to win the presidency. In the same Business Insider interview, he said that a candidate “who can connect to people and relate to people at a base level and appreciate what they’re going through” is what the current political climate is calling for. Trump was able to do that, and Cuban believes he can take a similar route and be successful.
It remains to be seen what kind of candidate Cuban would be, especially considering his brash public persona is not exactly unlike Trump’s. Cuban won’t hesitate to make a run at the Oval Office if he feels he can win, which makes him an interesting sleeper bet here at +5000.
Stephen Colbert +10000
Stephen Colbert hasn’t been shy in bashing the 45th President of the United States. The host of “The Late Show” on CBS has made a habit of lambasting Trump at every turn, and there isn’t a single night that passes without a nudge or a prod coming from Colbert on national TV. Colbert has even helped launch a cartoon series on Showtime called “My Cartoon President,” in which an animated version of Trump and his cabinet members get into wacky adventures in the White House.
Interestingly enough, Colbert owes plenty of his recent success to Trump’s rise to power. “The Late Show” was floundering in the ratings immediately after Colbert took over for the retired David Letterman. Some were speculating that James Corden, who hosts the show immediately following Colbert’s, was being considered as a replacement on the more coveted time slot.
However, Colbert’s ratings improved rapidly once he was able to find his footing. Based on his rise through “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central, it’s clear that Colbert’s wheelhouse is the world of politics. With politics currently dominating the 24-hour news cycle in this country, Colbert has an endless resource of material with which to work. Once Trump became the never-ending topic of conversation, Colbert’s show jumped to the top of the late-night rankings.
Colbert has previously joked that he is considering a 2020 run, but it’s fair to suggest that he might actually be a worthy opponent to Trump if he were to take the dive into real-life politics. He is clearly well-informed on today’s political climate and the issues, and he’s well-spoken and witty enough to go toe-to-toe with someone like Trump on the debate stage.
Colbert would be an interesting foil for Trump in that he seems to know how to push the President’s buttons. Colbert even drew the distinction of being named in one of Trump’s infamous tweets back in May of 2017. If Trump blasts you on Twitter, you know you’re getting under his skin.
It’s hard to imagine Colbert leaving his current cushy gig for the rigorous and (sometimes) nasty world of politics, but you never know. If Colbert does have political aspirations, he could decide to make the leap straight to the top.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson +4000
The Rock being listed at +4000 here was a bit of a surprise. The college football player-turned wrestler-turned Hollywood megastar has enjoyed a rather quick ascension. Nowadays, it’s almost a surprise when you see a trailer for an action film that doesn’t feature Dwayne Johnson.
Johnson, 45, seems to have everything going for him, so why would he abandon the glitzy movie star lifestyle in order to run for President. In a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Johnson did admit that he’s seriously considering the idea of challenging Trump during the next election cycle.
When asked why he would consider a run, Johnson said, “I can tell you with all honesty that the consideration comes at the desire from a large amount of people that would like to see this happen.”
Johnson admitted that the idea first came to him after reading a 2016 Washington Post piece that claimed that Johnson has what it takes to actually win a presidential election. However, Johnson later added that his busy filming schedule may make a 2020 run complicated. As a result, the 2024 election looks like a more realistic possibility for him.
Despite having no previous political experience, Johnson seems to check plenty of other boxes. He’s charismatic and well-liked around the industry. He’s also reportedly an insanely hard-worker, which certainly isn’t the first trait that comes to mind when describing the man currently occupying the Oval Office.
Johnson actually seems serious about this, which makes him an interesting flier bet here at +4000. Unfortunately, these odds are for the ‘20 election, and Johnson straight-up said that he probably can’t realistically make time to run until 2024 at the earliest. So, we’ll have to pass on this one for now.
LaVar Ball +25000
I’d make a joke here about how there’s no way we’re dumb enough to actually elect LaVar Ball President, but I don’t want to wind up like George Stephanopoulos and friends laughing off the notion of President Donald Trump back in 2015. Don’t do this, America.