There are plenty of PSA-style videos out there with celebrities urging The Young Folk to get out and cast those ballots in the midterm elections. But a new supergroup of VIPs has a slightly different message: Duh, of course you should vote — but guys, that’s still not enough.
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, and actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Kerry Washington are among those urging voters in a new video series not to be content just pulling a lever but to volunteer ahead of the midterm elections.
The slate of boldfacers who signed on for the initiative — called “The Last Weekend,” a reference to the preelection timetable they’re focusing on, reads like an ultra-woke dream dinner party guest list: actors Jill Kargman, Mandy Patinkin, Gina Gershon, Lena Dunham, Grace and Mamie Gummer, Kathryn Hahn, Keiko Agena; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); musicians Devendra Banhart and Jack Antonoff; and a slew of other creative types.
Organized by Swing Left, the effort focuses on mobilizing voters in the midterms on a level typically only seen in years when there’s a president on the ballot. Partners include Dem-leaning heavyweights Organizing for Action, Emily’s List, Move On and Pantsuit Nation.
Clinton, who appears in the video, tells us that the group was one of the organizations that caught her attention after founding her Onward Together foundation after the 2016 election, and so she was all too happy to endorse their exhortation to get people to knock on doors and phone-bank.
“I’ve done that for many decades,” she said of the pavement-pounding ask she’s making. “And I’ve always learned something.”
Asked what her last-minute rallying strategy is — her Mel Gibson-in-“Braveheart” speech to the troops — the former secretary of state deadpanned.
“It’s not an elaborate pitch,” she said. “Just that everything is at stake.”
Clinton said the current news cycle and the attendant angst it’s stirring on the left could help turnout. Her message? “Don’t just sit there and get upset, don’t get anxious — take your feelings and do something,” she said. “Everything you care about is on the ballot. We have to have a Congress that holds this administration accountable, and the only way that will happen is if we win the House.”
Other big names who appear in the video were likewise eager to pitch in — for the video and in the last-minute midterm push. “Orange Is the New Black” star Uzo Aduba said she plans to do voter registration and other volunteering, as she’s done ahead of previous elections (she’s an enthusiastic voter, to say the least) — something that sometimes surprises the people she interacts with. “They’re like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s you!’ ” she said. “But before I’m an actor, I’m a citizen, so it makes sense.”
Her pitch to would-be volunteers? It’s easy, she said, and actually fun. Phone-banking is a favorite of hers — “I’m a talker,” she said. “I’ll be talking to someone who is seemingly so different from me, someone in Indiana — and I’m, like, ‘Oh, wait we’ve been on the phone for 10 minutes,’ and [organizers] were, like, ‘Okay, move it along.’ ”
Swing Left co-founder Ethan Todras-Whitehill explained that the idea is to get motivated voters — the ones likely to volunteer — out of their often deep-blue bubbles and into swing districts. “Those people can still have an impact if they go out there in purple and red districts,” he said. “If people want their vote to count and they don’t live in places where control is won or lost, they can do that — but voting is just not enough.”