Do political endorsements mean much?

If it’s Oprah, yes. But most do little to sway voters, beyond letting them know who to boycott. Still, it’s interesting to see who supports candidates.

It’s always interesting to see who supports the presidential candidates. Especially this year after the United States has undergone more upheaval in the past four years than a tsunami and Trump has shown little inclination to curb the chaos and his authoritative impulses.

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An endorsement from Oprah can sway more than a few voters, a study found. [Creative Commons photo/ Aphrodite in NYC]

But as far as swaying voters, what effect do political endorsements have? If it’s Oprah Winfrey, who endorsed Biden, the effect can be large, as one study found in the 2008 presidential election. On the other side, Rush Limbaugh’s endorsement of Trump can also sway more than a few, though his listeners tend to be hard-line Trump supporters in the first place while Oprah attracts many apolitical viewers.

The endorsement of Biden by former Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, may help sway some independents and Republicans to cast a ballot for the Democrat in that swing state this year. But most endorsements do little to sway voters, though they can impact people’s views of the celebrity who does the endorsement, polls find.

I have to admit that my opinions of actors such as Kelsey Grammer and athletes like Tiger Woods, George Brett, and Herschel Walker — who I once enjoyed seeing perform — have deteriorated with their continued support of Trump, who criticizes everyone except Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. As for business execs who continue to endorse Trump, such as Bernard Marcus, Tom Monaghan, and John Schnatter, I rarely buy products or food from Home Depot, Domino’s Pizza, and Papa John’s Pizza, if they care.

Maybe I could see voting for Trump for a change and entertainment value in 2016. But after four years of this shitshow, you still support this clown?

I also have to admit I don’t mind LeBron James winning another NBA title with a rival of one of my favorite teams due to his outspoken support of Biden and important social issues. I tired of Golden State’s dynasty, but Steve Kerr’s and Stephen Curry’s anti-Trump comments helped soften my criticism. I am glad to see the San Francisco Giants falter since 2014 after owner Charles Johnson gave the most to Republicans among sports owners since 2016, according to ESPN. And I have to root for the Baltimore Orioles to win their first World Series title since 1983 after owner Peter Angelos gave the most to Democrats in that time span.

If you look at Trump’s list of endorsements, many are no surprise. Spelling bee champion Dan Quayle, a liability in George H.W. Bush’s re-election bid in 1992, thinks Barack Obama was more divisive than Trump. He still can’t spell “potato.” Former Texas Gov. and Trump Energy Wacko Goodhair Perry said Don the Con was “ordained by God” to be president. Former KKK leader David Duke believes Trump’s policies align with his white supremacist views, which is a more honest statement than most Trump supporters give. Convicted felon and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich likes that Trump commuted his prison sentence. Porn star Brandi Love’s support of Trump makes more sense than most.

But some raise eyebrows. An executive whose company sells products to consumers is making a risky decision by publicly endorsing any candidate. That goes for those supporting Biden like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, as well as execs for Trump, such as Marcus, Monaghan, and Schnatter. Rappers appeal to mostly Democratic voters, so for Lil Wayne and Lil Pump, among others, to endorse Trump means they must not care much about the commercial side of their business. Numerous actors and athletes who supported Trump in 2016 have pulled their endorsement this time, but not Randy Quaid, Ben Stein, and Mike Ditka.

Among those who have withdrawn their endorsement for Trump this year are his former National Security Adviser John Bolton, his former spokesman Anthony Scaramucci, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, actors Clint Eastwood, Charlie Sheen, Dana Carvey, and James Caan, comedian Dennis Miller, and athletes Tom Brady and Johnny Bench. A few of those, namely Bolton and Scaramucci, even go so far as to endorse Biden.

Some past Trump staffers like former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor and former DHS official Elizabeth Neumann have circled around to support Biden. Most politicians switching to a Democrat are not sitting Republicans, though some like Nebraska State Sen. John McCollister are.

About the only prominent politicians who supported Clinton in 2016 and plan to vote for Trump this time is the discredited Blagojevich and Vernon Jones, a state representative from Georgia. George W. Bush endorsed Clinton and says he again won’t vote for Trump but has stopped short of supporting Biden.

Some like to know who business executives support so they can align their consumer habits with their political beliefs as much as possible. Some release public endorsements, while many want their support hidden as much as possible so they contribute to super PACs and in the names of family members and friends.

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Trump [Public domain photo]

Among the executives supporting Trump this year:

  • Dan Gilbert, co-founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot
  • Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza
  • John Schnatter, founder and former CEO of Papa John’s Pizza
  • Joe Shoen, CEO of Amerco, owner of U-Haul
  • Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of The Blackstone Group, which invests in companies like Hilton and Great Wolf Resorts
  • Timothy Mellon, owner of Pan Am Systems, which operates Pan Am Railways and formerly Pan Am Airways; also heir to Mellon banking empire
  • Kelcy Warren, co-founder of Energy Transfers, owner of Sunoco and operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline
  • H. Ross Perot Jr., son of the late presidential candidate and computer services magnate
  • Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal
  • Elizabeth and Richard Uihlein, founders of Uline
  • Isaac Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel comics and toys
  • Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of Jimmy John sandwich chain
  • Ronald Lauder, heir to Estee Lauder Cos.
  • Charles Johnson, owner of the San Francisco Giants and former CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments
  • Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade
  • Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Football Team
  • Dan DeVos, chairman of the Orlando Magic
  • Richard DeVos, president of Amway
  • Arte Moreno, CEO of Outdoor Systems and owner of the Los Angeles Angels
  • Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins and chairman of The Related Companies
  • Linda and Vince McMahon, founders of World Wrestling Entertainment
  • Ronald Perelman, investor in companies such as Revlon and RetailMeNot
  • Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle Corporation
  • Larry Ellison, Oracle founder
  • Mike Lindell, founder and CEO of My Pillow
  • Diane Hendricks, co-founder of ABC Supply Co.
  • Cherna Moskowitz, president of Hawaiian Gardens Casino

More can be seen here and here.

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Biden [Public domain photo]

Executives for Biden include:

  • Oprah Winfrey, television show host and producer
  • Mark Cuban, Shark Tank star and owner of the Dallas Mavericks
  • Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles
  • Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs
  • Reed Hastings, co-founder and co-CEO of Netflix
  • Ron Burkle, part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and co-founder of The Yucaipa Companies
  • Tony James, chairman of Costco
  • Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
  • Lee Daniels, director of The Butler
  • Edwin Catmull, co-founder of Pixar
  • Jacqueline Mars, heiress to Mars, Inc.
  • Jim Gianopulos, CEO of Paramount Pictures
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks Animation
  • Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay

More can be seen here and here.

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Written for 45+ newspapers/mags. Written some books — see Visited 48 states, 30+ countries.

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