Hollywood is all abuzz about the upcoming 2016 presidential primary season, and the industry has some strategic plans to make certain that things play out a lot differently than they did in 2008.
In that presidential election cycle, the entertainment community found itself deeply divided between Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Back then David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg, the three principals of DreamWorks who also happen to be Hollywood's lead bundlers for Democratic candidates and causes, found themselves at odds with one another.
Geffen and Katzenberg lined up behind candidate Obama. However, Spielberg refrained from choosing sides and instead forked over money to both Democratic candidates.
It was Geffen, though, who presented an early challenge for the Hillary Clinton campaign by speaking publicly of his misgivings concerning the Clintons. Despite having donated millions of dollars to Bill Clinton's 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, Geffen voiced his opinions aloud in a 2007 interview with Maureen Dowd of The New York Times.
The Hollywood power player characterized Clinton as "incredibly polarizing."
The former Clinton supporter's opinions turned out to be representative of a segment of the Hollywood community that in the end pulled back on their support of Hillary, switched tracks, and migrated over to a relatively unknown senator from Illinois, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.
As a show of their support, Geffen, Katzenberg, and Spielberg set up a $1.3 million fundraiser for Obama in February 2007 at Geffen's Beverly Hills home.
At the time Hollywood found itself split between two candidates, but not now. When it comes to the upcoming Democratic presidential primary, Hollywood cash and support is shaping up to be funneled in a singular direction, and that would be Hillary's.
Geffen made it crystal clear in July 2013. In an interview with Fortune magazine, he said that he would "absolutely" support Clinton for president.
Geffen's DreamWorks colleague, Katzenberg, sent word to Clinton several months ago, letting her know that he would support her potential presidential candidacy in 2016.
"If Secretary Clinton makes the decision to run, I expect she'll have near-unanimous support here," Katzenberg wrote in an email to The New York Times.
Having the DreamWorks trio in her corner stands in stark contrast to the position that Hillary found herself in with regard to Hollywood back in 2008. Now she can relish in the fact that she has some of the largest sources of Democratic cash all to herself.
Many Hollywood Democrats have been looking wistfully back at what perhaps should have been a Mrs. Clinton pick in 2008, providing a more moderate alternative to the politics that have been practiced by the Obama administration.
Music executive Irving Azoff told the Hollywood Reporter, "A lot of people in Hollywood are not 100 percent thrilled with Obama and think we need a more centrist Democrat."
Hillary and her political advisers are apparently cognizant of the significance of left coast fundraising. The former Secretary of State's schedule is filled with events that involve Hollywood movers and shakers.
In October 2013, Hillary was the headliner at a Beverly Hills event that was hosted by entertainment entrepreneur Haim Saban and was intended to raise money for then-Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
This past weekend Hillary and daughter Chelsea traveled to Los Angeles for a series of events that look to be timed to cement Hillary's support in Tinseltown.
Clinton spoke at a meeting for the International Medical Corps on Saturday, where Katzenberg and Spielberg were co-hosts. On the same day Clinton and her daughter attended an event designated to focus on early childhood education.
The presumed Democrat presidential candidate met with a host of Hollywood notables including panel moderator Rob Reiner and panelists Fox entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly, CBS chief Nina Tassler, "Modern Family" co-showrunner Steven Levitan, "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes, and "Parenthood" creator Jason Katims.
At a brunch at USC the following day, Hillary was given the Hermandad Award from the Mexican American Leadership Initiative of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation.
The "Ready for Hillary" political action committee plans to hold two Hollywood fundraisers by the end of the year, one of which will be hosted by Howard Gordon, the executive producer of "Homeland" and "24."
"I think everybody hopes that she runs, and I think if she runs we won't have the divided town like we had last time," Reiner told Variety.
California Sen. Barbara Boxer was asked by KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan if she had any information on whether Hillary will make the decision to run.
Boxer responded, "She tells me, 'I'm thinking about it Barbara.' And I say to her, 'Well, think!'"
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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