Celebs Need to Stop Flippantly Saying They’re Running for President

*Looking at you Priyanka Chopra*

Katherine Singh
Priyanka Chopra Jonas poses at the Cannes Film Festival
Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the Cannes Film Festival (Photo: Getty Images)

House of Cards has President Claire Underwood, Scandal had President Mellie Grant, and now there’s another famous lady (this time IRL ) looking to run the nation: Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

In a June 2 interview with The Sunday Times, the actor revealed that she has an eye on political office, saying: “I would love to run for prime minister of India.” In addition to her own seemingly political aspirations, the newlywed has a new U.S. presidential candidate in mind too—her husband. “I would love Nick to run for president,” Chopra said. “I don’t like the things associated with politics…but I know that both of us really want to make a change. Never say never.” Among the many reasons she thinks her hubby would fit the bill, “He’s not afraid to use the word [feminist] and I love that,” Chopra said.

Listen, we’re *all* for having women in top political positions (because, who run the world?), and we’re seriously “Burnin’ Up” at the thought of Jonas following in the footsteps of former president Barack Obama with #zaddy vibes in his presidential fits. But, we can’t help but be a little putt off by Chopra’s unofficial political campaign, because she’s not the only star shamelessly promoting a whole new career for herself—and frankly it’s getting a little tiresome. The Quantico actor joins a growing list of celebs who are making a bid for political office—or at least flippantly say they’ll be—and that’s gotta stop. Because in general, celebs running for president is kind of a problem.

There are people who *do* take it seriously

We know that Chopra is *probably* joking about her intent to become prime minister of India, for a myriad of reasons: a) The Indian electoral system (like any electoral system), is complicated AF—just ask Hasan Minhaj b) Chopra is hella busy already, pretty much running Bollywood and Hollywood; don’t know if you heard, but she’s a superstar? and c) the comment seemed pretty off-the-cuff and flippant. And TBH that’s kind of the problem.

Whether or not Chopra was joking or was just throwing out a random thought, her words do have meaning; and while maybe a run for office isn’t a serious consideration for her (or Jonas), what she says matters because people listen. Specifically, her incredibly loyal and devoted fans take her words literally. So casually throwing out this tidbit is a disservice to them, and honestly makes her comment seem *a bit* like a vanity grab or stunt.

In May 2017, actor and former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in a similar situation to Chopra, with a big year already behind him and a successful summer on the horizon. A profile by GQ declared “Dwayne Johnson for President.” It’s no coincidence that Johnson was promoting Baywatch and the third season of his HBO series Ballers. While Johnson acknowledged that he wouldn’t want to make a bid with “flippant” promises, the actor said the idea of him running for office was “a real possibility.” A few days after the profile was released, Johnson got Tom Hanks in on the joke, with the duo “announcing” their dual-bid for the White House in an opening monologue for Saturday Night Live. But more recently, either due to time constraints or maybe because he doesn’t currently have much to promote, Johnson announced that he won’t in fact be running for president—at least in 2020. Similarly, rapper Kanye West announced at the 2015 MTV Music Video Awards that he’d be running for president in 2020 too; but in September 2018, he pushed his reported bid back to 2024—which, I mean, we’ll believe it when we see it.

It’s one thing when the public puts the onus on you as a the last great hope for the country (à la Michelle Obama and Oprah, who have both flat out denied that they’ll run for president), but it’s another thing entirely to take that onus on to yourself, without following through. With great power comes great responsibility, and sometimes that responsibility means knowing the repercussions of your power—and what you say. Chopra, Jonas and Johnson aren’t new stars, so they should know better.

A lot of claims are made without putting in actual work

When it comes to celebs like Johnson, Yeezy, Katy Perry, Cher and Alec Baldwin making claims of a presidential bid, it’s extra iffy because there’s been no effort by our Hollywood faves to *actually*  become truly politically engaged.

If it’s just a free-for all, why shouldn’t *I*—who routinely scrolls through Twitter, liking politically-oriented tweets, who re-shares images about feminism and who dips my toe into politics once in a while via articles thirsting after Justin Trudeau—run for prime minister of Canada?

Aside from hilariously tweeting about the current prez, Cher hasn’t done a ton in the political sphere, and we’re sorry Katy, but it’s a big leap from endorsing a presidential candidate to actually being one.

Need we look any further than the current President of the United States?

Being well known doesn’t inherently equate to being politically savvy, and regardless of what we may think of a political candidate, at its core, electing these positions should be about choosing the person who will do the best job, not just the person you like the best (although increasingly it seems like the latter).

If celebs were seriously trying to enter politics, they should really look to Cynthia Nixon as their guide. In 2018, the Sex and the City actress announced her bid for Governor of New York, having fought for 17 years for better schools, equitable education funding across the state and women’s reproductive rights. She announced her intent with a video and full campaign plan outlining her initiatives. While she didn’t win her bid, the way Nixon presented herself made it very clear that people were voting for her platform, and not solely for her celebrity—and that she wanted it that way.

It undermines the actual office of the prez

While atm it’s hard to believe that the White House *ever* had any sense of dignity (Barack, we miss you!), having celebs throw out that they’ll be running for office willy-nilly, on-stage at an awards show or on a press tour for a movie or TV show, seriously undermines the gravity and hard work of the position. You guys, it’s not an easy job being the leader of a country; and Chopra’s comment diminishes the effort that actually goes into running for political office. It’s not like Bloody Mary—you can chant “Make me President” three times and the White House appears to you, and all these celebs putting out there that they *might* ya know, only if they have time and can squeeze it in, run for the highest and most important political office in all the land as if they’re saying they may get Botox or may have Nobu for lunch, is infuriating AF.

And it’s also unnecessary. As Chopra emphasized in her interview, she and Jonas are both looking to make a change, and they can 100% do that without trying to fast-track to the highest office. If there are issues or causes celebs care about and want to change, they’re in an incredibly privileged and effective position to do so. Mainly, because they have money, influence and most importantly—the ability to use them.

Just look at Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been a longtime climate change champion since the 1990s. DiCaprio, along with being known for his hunkiness and penchant for dating *strictly* super-young models, has steadily donated his celebrity, along with an estimated $100 million in funding to climate change and wildlife conservation causes, including protecting coral reefs and tigers, and spreading public awareness about the dangers of climate change through his foundation. He has continuously spoken out on the importance of supporting leaders willing to take action against climate change—even using his about-time Oscars winning speech to advocate for people to do something. Similarly, celebs like Bill and Melinda Gates and Oprah Winfrey support initiatives close to their hearts—all independent of political office. And TBH, that’s probably better, because it’s hella difficult to actually get anything passed when president (See: anything progressive Obama wanted to do).

There are real, tangible things these celebs can be doing, and that Chopra already does. The actor is a UNICEF ambassador and has been associated with numerous NGOs to help improve the conditions for young girls in India.

View this post on Instagram

At the Bambasi Refugee Camp Primary School there is a shortage of trained teachers, with one teacher for every 89 students. This second grade class is taught by Hubahiro, she is a refugee child who is an 8th grade student at the school…she teaches grades 1-4 in the morning, and in the afternoon attends school to continue her education. Like her mother, who is also a refugee and teacher at the school, she earns a small stipend. When I first met the kids they were extremely introverted and timid. It took a lot of tickles and cuddles to get them to interact with me. Thank you Hubahiro for translating and helping the kids understand that I was a friend. @unicef @unicefethiopia #childrenuprooted

A post shared by Priyanka Chopra Jonas (@priyankachopra) on

She doesn’t need to undermine her contributions with a throw-her-hat-in-the-ring vanity grab for prime minister.

Just look at Beyoncé. There’s one celeb who loves to support political causes, but hasn’t made a bid for president. And once again, we should all follow her lead.

Related:

The Cut’s Takedown of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Was Not OK
Reminder: Priyanka Chopra Is Not the Only Option to Play Ms Marvel
Turns Out Priyanka Chopra *Didn’t* Say Yes to Nick Jonas Right Away

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