Singer-songwriter John Legend joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren on her campaign trail in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Legend announced his support for the Massachusetts senator in October 2019.
Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren spoke to an attentive crowd at South Carolina State University Wednesday, but it was singer-songwriter John Legend who brought several hundred students to their feet.
Although the Massachusetts senator has little chance to overcome Vice President Joe Biden’s lead in the South Carolina Democratic primary, she generated a lot of energy by having the celebrity singer join her on the campaign trail. He sang three of his hit songs, including “All of Me.”
There was no question that freshman Christopher Wisie was most excited to see Legend, the 11-time Grammy Award winner who is married to model Chrissy Teigen. When the event was over, Wisie’s initial excitement turned into something more.
“As I watched [Warren], I paid attention to some of the stuff that she talked about,” Wisie said. “I realized that I agree with some of the ideas she has.”
The other presidential candidates are also using celebrities to catch voters’ attention. Actress Vivica A. Fox is joining Biden on his campaign trail in South Carolina. Famous singers and actors, such as Cher and Tom Hanks, have also voiced their support for him.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters range from actors and musicians to comedians and athletes. Preparing for Super Tuesday, the presidential candidate recently announced a rally with hip-hop group Public Enemy, comedian Sarah Siverman and television icon Dick Van Dyke.
There’s no question that star power is used in presidential campaigns, but University of South Carolina political science professor Robert Oldendick said it’s hard to measure just how much influence celebrities have.
“Because there are so many factors that go into influencing a campaign,” Oldendick said. “To try to tease out what impact a celebrity endorsement might have is really difficult.”
The professor said that voters care more about a candidate’s policies, personality and electability. Voters have to know who the celebrity is in order for their presence to have any impact at all.
“All the research we have on this shows that at best they don’t hurt,” Oldendick said. “To the extent they have a positive impact, it’s really minimal.”
That was the case with Amber Casey, who drove from Augusta to see Sen. Warren in person.
“I don’t think it has any influence on my vote,” Casey said. “The African-American community typically votes Democratic. I think [Legend] probably brings a visibility to her campaign that she’s not currently receiving.”
South Carolina State University freshman Christopher Wisie went to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s event to see singer-songwriter John Legend. After hearing the candidate speak, he says he sees her potential to be the next president.
University of South Carolina political science professor Robert Oldendick has studied American politics for over 30 years. He said celebrity endorsements have a minimal effect on voters.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s event was held at the Martin Luther King Auditorium at South Carolina State University. Several hundred people showed up to see the democratic presidential candidate and singer-songwriter John Legend.