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Local expert says more celebrities will run for office

Virginia Tech professor says they're mostly underqualified

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BLACKSBURG, Va. – A local political communications expert is making the prediction that the trend of celebrities running for political office will continue.

Virginia Tech professor John Tedesco said Tuesday that inexperienced people will continue to run on their popularity even though most of them will be vastly underqualified. He said anyone can acquire expertise in translatable skills but most celebrity jobs are self-serving and the country needs experienced politicians in order to get things done.

"Just because someone plays a candidate on TV doesn't mean that that can translate to an effective public servant,” he said.

He said inexperienced people should start in local offices to learn the ropes, not jump right to Congress or the White House.

"Just because they have a hundred million people following them on social media, doesn't mean that we should run out and get them on the ballot for president,” he said.

Tedesco acknowledged that many Americans are looking for candidates who can shake up the status quo, and he said that can be a positive force in Washington.

America’s history had examples of celebrities stepping into political positions before Donald Trump’s 2017 electoral win. Tedesco noted that Ronald Reagan had learned some of the political ropes when he was governor of California, before successfully running for president.

Tedesco said Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda in the popular TV show “Sex and the City,” will have a chance in her bid for governor of New York this year.

Tedesco believes the media needs to focus more on informing the public on exact policies candidates have when faced with the decision of how much attention to give the more popular candidates.

"Any opportunity the media has to focus, to provide a score sheet that helps the public understand the implications legislation will have on their lives will be beneficial,” he said.

Oprah, Dwayne Johnson and Mark Cuban are just three of the celebrities who have talked about running for president in the past year.


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