Are celebrity politics the spice of American public life or a pox on policy progress? This book identifies and measures the attributes of celebrities that make them well-equipped to win campaigns and yet poorly prepared to govern effectively. The framers of the U.S. Constitution worried about the propensity of an undereducated public to elect unqualified entertainers rather than fit characters to government positions. Celebrities have come to play an increasingly central role in the American political process as fundraisers, surrogates, and as candidates themselves, yet remain a sorely understudied topic in political science. Through a multimethod approach that includes qualitative analysis, novel public opinion surveys, and survey experiments, this book assesses whether Americans are more likely to vote for celebrities than well-known traditional politicians and the implications of these preferences for democracy in the U.S. Perfect for students, scholars, and interested citizens, Star Power looks at the contemporary American political landscape through new lenses of research as well as popular appeal.

chapter Chapter 1|29 pages

A Short History of a Longstanding Obsession

chapter Chapter 2|35 pages

In Their Own Words

Why Celebrities Run

chapter Chapter 3|36 pages

Celebrities, They’re Not Like Us

chapter Chapter 4|18 pages

Do Voters Prefer Celebrity Candidates to Politicians?

chapter Chapter 5|18 pages

The Death of U.S.?