Via Marvin Lynchard, DoD News Features | Wikimedia Commons
There’s a handful of celebrities who have transitioned from the entertainment business to politics, from Ronald Reagan to Arnold Schwarzenegger to our current president, Donald J. Trump. The pattern raises the question — who will be the next movie star to grace the political stage?
A particular possibility one could toy around with lies in William Bradley “Brad” Pitt. The “Fight Club” star and husband (divorce pending) of Angelina Jolie is often hailed for his good looks and stellar performances, but some may question if he should be receiving attention for his moves in the political landscape and his run for president in 2020 instead.
Pitt gave public support for Obama’s presidency at a movie premiere in 2012, leading some to classify Pitt as more left-leaning. But regardless of ideology, sophomore pharmacy major Payal Bhatt said she thought the idea of Pitt running for president could be interesting.
“I think that’d be pretty exciting, honestly. It’d be pretty funny. He’s pretty, he’s pretty. And he’s an actor, so he could probably act as a really great president,” Bhatt said.
When asked if she would support Pitt’s presidential campaign, Bhatt compared the possibility of Pitt running to the current state of the U.S. presidency.
“At this point, yeah,” Bhatt said. “It can’t get any worse.”
FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism website known for its elections coverage, released a guide in May 2017 titled “The 7 Signs That Someone Might be Running for President in 2020.”
According to the website, some signs a particular figure may be running for president include making at least one visit to Iowa, South Carolina or New Hampshire — states that have early primaries and typically predict a candidate’s momentum in the race — for a political event.
The other indicators of a potential presidential run are interviewing with a magazine with a large following of political enthusiasts, making a campaign appearance for gubernatorial or senatorial candidates of the same party outside the aforementioned states, releasing a book during the period between the 2012 election and the 2014 midterms and being included in an early poll of the presidential race.
For the 2016 election, only three potential candidates met all seven requirements — Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Trump only met three, since he was not included in polls and did not write a book in the years leading up to his election.
Current front-runners for 2020 in terms of this guide, according to the website, include Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, with list appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg.
FiveThirtyEight’s list fails to include Brad Pitt. He has not been sighted in New Hampshire, Iowa or South Carolina and he has not published a book since 2000. He did, however, do an interview with GQ in May 2017, which has part of its website dedicated to political coverage.
The guide’s writers did admit its data is possibly incomplete because “some candidates didn’t receive much media coverage before their campaigns began, which makes them difficult to track.”
They added that “even when coverage is good, it’s particularly difficult to prove a negative, such as that someone never went to Iowa for a political event during a two-year period.”
While there isn’t coverage of Pitt doing any of these things, he fulfills all the legal criteria for running for president. He was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on Dec. 18, 1963, making him at least 35 years of age, and has lived in the United States for at least the past 14 years.
If Pitt were to ever run for president, Michelle Hector, a sophomore neuroscience major, said his lack of experience in the political arena would keep her from supporting him.
“I would not vote for him. He doesn’t have any experience in politics, so there’s that,” Hector said.
But if Pitt could demonstrate political ability, Hector said she would possibly consider giving Pitt her vote.
“If he could prove that he had experience I would maybe [consider it],” Hector said. “I’d be shocked, like I’d read about it, but I wouldn’t vote for him. Unless he has good policies.”
Bouncing off of the potential for Pitt to distinguish himself as a politician, sophomore neuroscience and sociology major Lauren Yu advised Pitt to begin his political journey with running for a more local office.
“Start small, run for mayor, run for governor. Do something more political than just act. Like being an actor is not good enough, sorry, for the presidency,” Yu said.
It is uncertain whether Pitt will run for president, but Hector hasn’t given up on Pitt as a potential vice presidential candidate.
“I feel like if he teamed up with Bernie or something, I’d be like, OK,” Hector said.