MUSIC

13 Celebrities Who Are Feeling the Bern

These stars have publicized their support for Bernie Sanders.

Recently, Twitter was gifted with visual documentation of Ariana Grande's biggest smile ever.

It occurred when the ponytailed pop princess met Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who attended Grande's Atlanta show in a delightful cable knit sweater. "MY GUY," read Grande's caption, essentially solidifying her endorsement in the 2020 election.

This is only the most recent example on a long list of celebrities declaring their love for Senator Sanders. Below, we're sharing just a few well-known stars and Internet personalities who have declared that they're feeling the Bern.

Weyes Blood

The musician Weyes Blood—whose incredible album Titanic Rising we named one of last year's best—started 2020 by meeting her candidate of choice. The singer-songwriter, real name Natalie Mering, shared a photo of herself and Sanders, publicizing her decision for the 2020 race.



Cardi B

"I been reading about Bernie Sanders and I'm really sad how we let him down in 2016," the "Bodak Yellow" rapper tweeted over the summer, emphasizing that improving the country has been a proven passion of his and "not a new front for a campaign." In August, the unlikely friends appeared in a campaign video together, in which Cardi interviewed Sanders about social issues especially relevant to his platform, including police brutality, DACA, and the student debt crisis—from a nail salon, naturally.

John Mulaney

Though Mulaney once subtly compared Donald Trump in the White House to a horse in a hospital, the Big Mouth comedian keeps his political opinions separate from his jokes. It might be surprising, then, to know that Mulaney donated at least $1,250 to Sanders' 2016 campaign. "I have a problem with 'Comedians are really brave and we need them now more than ever,'" he told Esquire this year. "It's like, we're not congressmen. We're court jesters." In that case, Mulaney's the most generous court jester we know.

Shailene Woodley

Woodley made headlines in 2016 after being arrested while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, but it didn't put a damper on her political activism. "I'm ready for the political revolution and all in it for Bernie Sanders," the Fault In Our Stars actress tweeted in June.

Mark Ruffalo

On a Late Show With Stephen Colbert appearance this month, Ruffalo explained that he's been feeling the Bern since the 2016 election. "The rest of the United States is just finally caught up to what [Sanders] has been doing his entire career. And you know that when he gets into office, he's going to be fighting for us," the Avengers: Endgame actor said.

Jaboukie Young-White

As a comedian and "actual young person" on The Daily Show, Twitter has become a major outlet for Young-White, so it makes sense that that's where he'd declare his endorsement. He kept it simple in the caption of a mirror selfie, in which he's wearing a Bernie t-shirt: "im a bernie bro."

Anthony Fantano

On his YouTube channel theneedledrop, Anthony Fantano has made a name for himself divulging his divisive opinions on music. But he has firm opinions on politics, too: "[Joe Biden's] brain is MELTING, and winning the primary will only lead to an inevitable implosion," the Internet personality tweeted after a Democratic debate in September. "Stop messing around with this fool and support other candidates—preferably Bernie."

Ezra Koenig

Koenig also supported Sanders in 2016, and said his band Vampire Weekend would like to "help out" the candidate in the 2020 election, too. But it's hard to match the energy of Sanders' first run: "I like to believe he's less of a sociopath than a lot of people who want to be president, but it's hard to be as excited as I was in 2016," Koenig told The Times. "That was the first time I felt deeply about a candidate."

Noname

Noname is no stranger to supporting a good cause—she started her own book club this year—and publicizing her endorsement of Sanders is only the latest on her to-do list of deeds. She simply tweeted the candidate's name with a green check mark emoji.

Miley Cyrus

Cyrus can also add activist to her resume, having founded the Happy Hippie Foundation to help trans and LGBTQ+ youth. It's no surprise that her views are in line with Sanders. When the senator shared Cardi B's tweet, he shared it on Instagram, to which the edgy pop star replied "True!"

Lil Yachty

Sanders fans were thrilled when the senator announced he was running for president again in February, and Lil Yachty was one of them. The red-dreadlocked rapper retweeted Sanders' campaign video with a straight-to-the-point "Let's gooooo" in solidarity.

Eric Andre

Sanders has long been vocal about legalizing marijuana, evidently a selling point for Eric Andre. "Can we please give this guy the keys to the whitehouse already?" the comedian implored on Instagram, captioning a photo promoting Sanders' plan for legalization.

Kim Gordon

Gordon, founding member of the iconic rock band Sonic Youth, used an adorable photo of her dog to share her endorsement: "Go Bernie!" she captioned an Instagram photo of her dog pawing a Bernie pin.

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CULTURE

Ariana, Bernie, Trump, A$AP Rocky, and the Kardashians: How Politics Became Pop Culture

Pop culture can be useful when connected to politics if it inspires tangible action—but the two can be like fire and gasoline when combined in the wrong way.

In a world where the Kardashians and A$AP Rocky have been name-dropped during literal impeachment hearings, it's hard not to wonder if we're living in a simulation.

Of course everything about Donald Trump's regime has had a simulacra-like quality about it, as full of glitches as any beta website. The former reality TV star has often been called the "social media president," after all, and his prolific Twitter usage grows more surreal by the hour.

We've entered an era where pop culture, social media, and politics blur into each other, tangling in every aspect of our lives. In fact, as the Kardashian, Jay Leno, and A$AP Rocky name-drops reveal, the ties between figures in pop culture and politicians have never been stronger and more influential, able to influence actual policy and political decisions.

Bernie Sanders and Ariana Grande Unite

At the same time Trump is discussing the Kardashians in one of the most high-profile hearings of all time, one of Trump's most formidable opponents is making his own ties to certain pop culture deities. Yesterday, Bernie Sanders was photographed beaming with Ariana Grande, and Grande took to Instagram to voice her support. "MY GUY. thank you Senator Sanders for coming to my show, making my whole night and for all that you stand for !" She wrote on Twitter. "@headcountorg and i are doing our best to make you proud. we've already registered 20k+ young voters at my shows alone. also i will never smile this hard again promise."

Sanders responded, "I want to thank @ArianaGrande for not only being a wonderful entertainer, but also for being such an outstanding advocate for social justice. We must all be prepared – like Ariana has shown – to fight for everyone who is struggling. It was great to meet her in Atlanta last night."

The senator has shown abnormal acumen in terms of using pop culture to his advantage, which can't entirely be said of his primary challengers. Previously, he's aligned himself with Cardi B, Susan Sarandon, and the Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. While Hillary Clinton garnered the support of thousands of A-list celebrities to no avail and put on a show of performative allyship that wound up looking like loyalty to Hollywood elites, Sanders' choice of allies feels more purposeful and genuine.

Bernie x Cardi B www.youtube.com

Then again, in the eeriest way, the same might be said of Donald Trump. His clear allegiance to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West—both figures who provoke immense ire and loathing among the masses and who, like the worst of car crashes, are incredibly difficult to look away from—aligns well with Trump's general distaste for authority and reason.

We have good reason to question celebrity alliances, as they do seem like excellent marketing for both sides. Celebrities can benefit from appearing more politically engaged through alliances to politicians, and, of course, the latter can reap the adoration of massive fanbases through a few deep connections. In some ways, celebrities and politicians seem united by the sheer amount of money and power they both amass and use to run their platforms.

But there's a long tradition of art blending with political ideology and vice versa. After all, what are politicians and performers, if not master storytellers, capable of rallying hundreds of thousands of people? When has anything been separate from politics?

Political Art vs. Pop Culture Politics

Art has always been political, used as a way of disseminating ideas and ideologies. Pop culture, in particular, is a broad mode of communication between the masses and collective values and ideas. "'Pop-culture' does not belong to just the elites and it is not officially or ideologically acknowledged as the dominant culture any level," writes Ayush Banerjee, "yet its discourse has enormous significance in the formation of public attitudes and values, as well as a profound impact on both domestic and international affairs."

Politics has also always been a theatrical game, and pop culture icons have long endorsed candidates. John F. Kennedy had Frank Sinatra sing "High Hopes" during the 1960s. Nixon famously met Elvis; and then there was Ronald Reagan, who, like Trump, made his way from Hollywood to the Oval Office.

President And King TIME.com

But in a time when silence is widely equated to taking the position of the antagonist, there's never been a time when it's been so imperative for artists to develop political alliances, and vice versa. Similarly, politicians must rely on social media and its language to channel their campaigns, as being out-of-touch with the online world can tank you as quickly as a meme can go viral.

Are celebrity relationships influential and beneficial? "If a celebrity endorsement just benefits a politician looking to boost their profile and prove their cool, then it's a lame effort to manipulate fans with short attention spans," writes John Avlon on CNN. "But if Poliwood draws sustained attention to a real public policy problem, it can serve as a gateway to civic engagement and spur political action."

Overall, the general consensus seems to be that pop culture can be useful when connected to politics if it's linked to tangible action—but the two can be like fire and gasoline when combined in the wrong way. "Politicians are not celebrities; they do not deserve fawning worship," writes Mark E. Anderson. "They are public servants, who can and should be scrutinized, and must be held accountable for their actions."

Arguably, with the rise of #MeToo and cancel culture, celebrities are being held to higher standards than ever before (which isn't saying too much, but still). Perhaps the intermixing of politics and pop culture doesn't mean that the simulation is breaking. Maybe the walls between the worlds are just falling down.

In some cases, this intermixing of pop culture and politics leads to the kind of apocalyptic cognitive dissonance that's plagued the entire Trump impeachment hearing circus. On the other hand, seeing Ariana Grande and Bernie Sanders beam together—both so full of hope for a better world—feels like the beginning of something, and God knows we all need something to get us through the next 18 months.