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- Joe Biden and Donald Trump are watching their approval ratings tank.
- Their low numbers are making room for other potential presidential hopefuls, including celebrities.
- Some Elon Musk stans want him to run. But Musk isn’t a US citizen, which disqualifies him.
It’s plausible. Six out of 10 voters would consider a moderate independent candidate for president in 2024 if President Joe Biden, a Democrat, and Trump, a Republican, end up staging a re-run of Election 2020, according to a recent Harvard CAPS-Harris poll.
Recently, the case for nontraditional, third-party candidates received a boost with the launch of the Andrew Yang-fronted Forward Party, established by dozens of former Democratic and Republican officials. And several celebrities have openly flirted with making an independent presidential run.
Here are 14 notable celebrities and would-be politicians to watch ahead of the 2024 presidential race:
When Elon Musk began angling to buy Twitter, Musk superfans encouraged him to do more — run for president in 2024.
“Shoulda bought shares in Twitter a month ago,” one Twitter user tweeted. “Either way I support #ElonMusk taking it over. Elon for President 2024.”
—Mike, a person (@mike_dangola) April 14, 2022
The billionaire has been making the headlines recently for his alleged affair with Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s wife, termination of his Twitter acquisition plans, and twins he had with one of his top executives.
But because of Article II of the US Constitution, Musk can’t run for president because he was born in South Africa, not on American soil.
Only a natural-born citizen can be president, which disqualifies Musk from the presidential race — although he could run for other public offices such as US senator or governor. (Think of Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served as California’s governor from 2003 to 2011.).
Musk has also been vocal in his support of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, for a potential 2024 presidential run.
One of the most influential women in the world, Oprah Winfrey’s presidential ambitions have long been a subject of celebrity-watching chatter.
Winfrey’s 2018 acceptance speech at the Golden Globes — she was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement — set off speculation about her possibility to run for president. The speech, which opened with a personal anecdote of her growing up as a Black girl in Milwaukee, pivoted to politics and social issues, such as the #MeToo movement.
“I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon,” she said. “And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me Too’ again.”
Stedman Graham, Winfrey’s longtime partner, told the Los Angeles Times, that Winfrey running for president is “it’s up to the people,” and “she would absolutely do it.”
But three weeks before her speech, the media magnate herself told Laura Brown, then the editor-in-chief of InStyle, that she has no interest in occupying the presidency. Winfrey said she had met with someone who offered to help with a political campaign, but she declined.
“I’ve always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not,” Winfrey told Brown. “And so it’s not something that interests me. I don’t have the DNA for it. … That’s not for me.”
But it may be too early to completely rule out her name appearing on the ballot. In an interview with David Rubenstein, Winfrey said at first she felt as if she didn’t have the experience to run for president, but is thinking otherwise after Donald Trump’s election.
“I thought, oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough, and now I’m thinking, ‘Oh, oh?'” she said.
And even if she doesn’t run, her endorsement — if one is forthcoming — could certainly help the recipient.
The 47-year-old former presidential candidate is no stranger to the political arena, although his efforts have yet to translate into electoral victory.
As part of his political platform, Yang promoted a universal basic income and Medicare for all. The son of Taiwanese immigrants, his bid was also a significant moment for Asian Americans.
Yang, who is at the helm of the newly formed national political third party, the Forward Party, hinted at his second attempt at running for the presidency, should a Trump-Biden rematch take shape.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Yang said, “One thing I will say is that if that matchup is unappealing to you, then go to ForwardParty.com and let’s make sure that Americans have more choices in your community but also in 2024.”
Bob Shrum, former political strategist and director of the Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California, believes Yang’s bid could backfire and give more votes to Trump.
“Andrew Yang, if he wants to start a new party or run as an independent, it could help the Republicans or it could help Trump in 2024,” he told Insider.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Professional wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson’s presidential bid overtures have not been nearly as subtle as Winfrey’s.
Nicknamed “The Rock,” the 50-year-old actor has been asked about his presidential ambitions on multiple occasions.
His answers hint at a 2024 bid. Johnson’s flirtations with politics began several years ago when, in 2016, he floated the idea of him occupying the Oval Office via Twitter.
“Cool piece on why I should run for President. Maybe one day. Surely the White House has a spot for my pick up truck,” Johnson tweeted, linking to a now-deleted Independent Journal story that laid out why he should be president.
Then, in 2017, he said in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that he’d “seriously considering running.” The same year, Johnson told USA Today that, that as the former World Wrestling Entertainment “people’s champ,” he would probably run in 2020 “to serve the people.”
He then told Variety that “the realistic consideration would be 2024.”
More recently, in 2021, Johnson kept his political options open.
“I think that poll of almost half of Americans being in favor of me running for president is so humbling. It sits me down and I don’t know any other way to describe it,” he told CNN.
Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Politico earlier this year that “The Rock” is one of the few people who could realistically challenge Trump in 2024, if Trump decides to run.
The American rapper and entrepreneur who last year officially changed his name to Ye, has expressed interest in running for president again, in 2024.
In 2020, after an unsuccessful run for office, West tweeted, “KANYE 2024” with a picture of his side profile in front of a graphic of the 50 states.
—ye (@kanyewest) November 4, 2020
West was effectively a non-factor in the 2020 presidential race. He appeared as a presidential candidate on the ballot in just 12 states and received just under 60,000 votes. His strongest support came from Tennessee, where he received more than 10,000 votes. Trump, on the other hand, secured over 1.84 million votes in the state.
West again hinted at a second attempt in his new song, “Keep It Burnin.” In the first verse, he raps: “When you run for ’24, I bet your spouse gon’ be with you / Who put this together? Me, that’s who.”
The Wyoming congresswoman and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney is at war with many of her Republican Party colleagues as she serves as vice chair of the US House’s January 6 select committee, which is investigating Trump.
Perhaps the most prominent anti-Trumper in the GOP, Cheney hasn’t ruled out a 2024 presidential bid. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, she said, “At this point, I haven’t made a decision on 2024. I’ll make a decision on 2024 down the road.”
In an interview with ABC News, Cheney told Jonathan Karl that the Republican Party can’t survive if Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024.
If Cheney does run for president as a Republican, she’d likely face stiff opposition from any of several others: Trump, DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as several other notable Republicans.
There’s always the possibility — although Cheney has not publicly suggested this — that she’d quit the Republican Party altogether and seek political fortunes with another party or as an independent.
But before making any decision about 2024, Cheney has her own congressional re-election campaign to run, and matters aren’t looking good for her. With the election just a couple of weeks away, Cheney is trailing badly behind Trump-backed Harriet Hageman.
Kinzinger, the other Republican on the January 6 committee who is distancing himself from Trump and the GOP establishment, said he would love to run against Trump in 2024.
“I would love it. I really would,” he said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “Even if he crushed me, like in a primary, to be able to stand up and call out the garbage is just a necessary thing, regardless of who it is. … I think it’d be fun.”
During an interview with the Washington Post, Kinzinger said he felt “dirty” after voting for Trump in the 2020 presidential election. He did it to “have credit” with the GOP base, he added.
“It’s not something I can square away in my soul fully,” he said.
Green Party and Libertarian Party
According to Ballotpedia, there are five Green Party and 13 Libertarian Party candidates who have already filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in 2024.
But “they can determine the outcome by draining votes away,” Shrum said.
If Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader had not run in 2000, for example, there’s almost no question that Democrat Al Gore would have become president instead of Republican George W. Bush, Shrum said.
“It would have, without doubt, have carried Florida by the margin of thousands of votes,” he said.
In addition, some argue that Jorgensen and the Libertarian Party siphoned crucial votes from Trump and ultimately elected Biden.
But neither party has ever earned a single electoral vote, except in 1972, when Libertarian candidate John Hospers received the first and only electoral vote in the party’s history — even if it wasn’t entirely earned.
Libertarians have also shown the ability to get on all 50 state ballots, a feat the Green Party hasn’t achieved yet.
Nevertheless, Green Party National co-chair Ahmed Eltouny is confident that a third-party candidate will emerge victorious in 2024.
“Trump got a lot of these people who felt disenfranchised to go out and vote, and it wasn’t important how qualified Joe Biden was, because these were all votes against Trump,” he told Insider. “But I do think that in 2024, it will definitely revert back to finding someone who’s anti-establishment.”
“Run, Forrest, run!”
The beloved American actor who portrayed the main character in the comedy-drama film “Forrest Gump” would have instant name identification if he sought the highest office in the land. In 2013, a Reader’s Digest poll named Hanks the most trusted person in America.
Hanks, 66, has always been outspoken about his political views. He has donated to Democrats, endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008 and subsequently for reelection in 2012, and publicly supported Joe Biden against Trump in 2020. Hanks even narrated Biden’s presidential inauguration festivities.
Filmmaker Michael Moore reportedly twice asked Hanks to run for president in the past, but was turned down both times.
But some people are hoping for a Dwayne Johnson/Tom Hanks ticket after the duo in 2017 joked about a White House bid on Saturday Night Live. And since Johnson said he’ll run if “the people want it,” there could be at least some truth beneath their comedy bit.
Actress, film director, and social activist Angelina Jolie is yet another celebrity who might set her sights on winning the presidency in 2024.
Earlier this year, Jolie attended an event at the White House where Biden signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act legislation — she is a vocal proponent.
The 47-year-old Academy Award winner is a noted philanthropist and has served as a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees special envoy.
In 2018, the actress and humanitarian hinted that she might run for president.
“I don’t know if I’m fit for politics, but then I’ve also joked that I don’t know if I have a skeleton left in my closet — I’m pretty open and out there, and I can take a lot on the chin,” she said. “So that’s good. But I honestly will do whatever I think can really make change.”
Cryptocurrency — a mere buzzword just a couple years ago — is undoubtedly mainstream.
In 2024, voters may find Bitcoin entrepreneur Brock Pierce’s name on the ballot. Again.
Pierce ran for president in 2020 as an independent but attracted little attention. He received 49,700 votes nationwide, with not quite half coming from voters in New York, according to records compiled by the Federal Election Commission.
“We get divided into making a fear-based decision to vote for red or blue, and I want to show people there’s another way,” he in 2020 told Insider.
“I can summarize why I’m running for office in one word: love. Love for this country, love for the American people at a time where that’s what we need,” he in 2020 told Darren Paltrowitz, host of the “Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz” podcast.
Pierce is now running for election to the US Senate to represent Vermont. But that doesn’t mean he no longer has ambitions for the presidency. He told Paltrowitz in the same interview that he will run for office again.
“I’m running all the way through to 2024,” he said.
The self-described “king of all media” said if Trump becomes the Republican nominee in 2024, he’ll “beat his ass.”
On his SiriusXM show, Stern acknowledged his plans to run for president, adding that once elected, he’ll work to eliminate the Electoral College.
“I’m actually gonna probably have to run for president now,” Stern said. “I went into a long-winded speech over the weekend to Robin [last name, his co-host] about how I am going to do the very simple thing that’ll set the country straight: One vote, one person, no more of this Electoral College.”
If he files to run for president in 2024, it wouldn’t be Stern’s first time running for public office.
Stern previously ran for governor of New York in 1994 as a Libertarian but dropped out of the race after refusing to disclose his personal finances — something that the multi-millionaire would have to do as a presidential candidate.
Smith, a comedian and staunch Libertarian, is setting his sights on a 2024 presidential bid. If elected, he’d be the first professional comedian to occupy the Oval Office.
The 40-year-old host of “Part of the Problem” podcast is a prominent member of the Mises Caucus, which won control of the Libertarian Party in May at the party’s national convention in Reno, when board member Angela McArdle won the Libertarian National Committee chair election with over 69% of the vote. Smith regularly appears as a political commentator on Fox News and The Joe Rogan Experience.
“I really don’t want to, but a lot of people here want me to and I understand why they do,” he told libertarian magazine Reason. “I like what I’m doing. But I think I could do something and create something really cool. A cool moment for this cause.”