Dr. Lauren Wright's work on celebrity candidates, described in her book, Star Power, inspired some of the questions in The New York Times quiz on the public's visual recognition of political figures and celebrities:
“It’s remarkable that, at baseline, celebrities start off with doing so well with very few qualifications and no active campaigning,” Ms. Wright said.
Mr. [sic] Wright says that celebrities are viewed so favorably in part because of the conditions in which they are introduced to the public. A catchy pop song, a memorable acting performance or an outstanding athletic achievement may leave the public feeling warm, without the conflict that comes from addressing divisive issues.
Lauren A. Wright is Associate Research Scholar in Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, where she teaches courses on The Presidency and Executive Power, Women and Politics, and Political Communication, and she is a CSDP faculty associate. Star Power: American Democracy in the Age of the Celebrity Candidate (Routledge 2019) identifies and measures the attributes of celebrities that make them well-equipped to win campaigns and yet poorly prepared to govern effectively. Wright is a frequent guest political analyst and has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, and MSNBC.