In the primary election of 2015, Americans saw a unique case of a celebrity taking over the Republican Party. Donald Trump, a famous businessman and TV superstar took over the GOP as a populist running on issues with basic principles, simplified messaging and effective rallies that changed the party forever.
While the first instance of this might have been those like President Ronald Reagan, Gov. Jesse Ventura, or Sen. Al Franken, there seems to be a new brand of celebrity conservatives emerging in the 2022 U.S. Senate races that now-former President Donald Trump himself has seemed to throw himself behind through endorsements and funding.
The most identifiable and pragmatic conservative celebrity running in 2022 is Herschel Walker, running against Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Walker is a Georgia football legend and is one of the most recognizable celebrities in the state's history and the United States' history as a whole. Being a former Heisman winner as a star University of Georgia running back and national champion with the Bulldogs certainly does not hurt the case of having name recognition in a statewide race.
Still, the fact that Walker is running as a Trump-endorsed candidate is surprising about his probability in the race. One of the most beloved people in Georgia's long history is running alongside Donald Trump as a Republican shows how much influence the America First movement still has on the GOP. Walker is now even favored to win the race.
Walker has shared populist sentiments of shrinking government intervention, being pro-life, and fighting back against communist China as some of his primary campaign issues. With Walker's campaign receiving multitudes of momentum heading toward November, it seems as if Trump has made the proper endorsement for the correct candidate in Georgia.
Now to discuss the more controversial pick, Dr. Mehmet Oz. The celebrity doctor announced his intention to fill retiring Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey's seat in 2022. While Oz's background has been mixed, from embracing some Hollywood liberal sentiments due to trying to win over TV audiences and other celebrities on his critically acclaimed daytime program, "The Dr. Oz Show," he has arguably run one of the most America First campaigns in the country.
Oz's campaign priorities have included fighting back against China, advocating for gun rights, criticizing the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and being strong on the border to fight illegal immigration. Those left and right have criticized Oz for past comments about controversial issues.
However, when viewed from a scope of the ever-changing world of American politics and the success of celebrities in the conservative movement, it is no surprise that Oz comes off as a strong candidate with a likelihood to defeat the presumed Democratic Senate nominee and Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. Trump had similar sentiments as he granted Oz his endorsement this past week.
While Oz is more of a blank slate candidate, the former president probably thinks he was in a similar place when he was running for the presidency and believes he can make a strong candidate and eventual senator out of the doctor. Oz runs the best Senate campaign in Pennsylvania and is poised to make a great run at the seat.
For a long time now, conservatives have had to hear celebrities from Hollywood treat them as second-class citizens from their elitist bubble. Republicans' accents, education and political positions continued to be mocked daily on television and social media, so it has to be presumed that when some of their kind, like Oz and Walker, join arms with them to fight against the mainstream, there is a reason momentum often swings in their direction.
Both of these candidates represent how much of an impact the America First movement has had not only on American conservatism but also American politics in general.
Kenny Cody is a conservative writer and activist from Northeast Tennessee. Read Kenny Cody's Reports — More Here.
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