Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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Column: Pop culture and politics, a match made on stage

Come. Sit down on the leather sofa. Close your eyes and I'll get the kettle on. Now, spill.

How bad is your election fatigue?

With the big day right around the corner, and with Florida as a major battleground, the Sunshine State's roster is packed with visits and events from candidates, national, state and local. Our politics writers at the Times are working overtime (not just an expression, they really are) to bring news of all the visits, speeches, protests and more leading up to Election Day.

But politics can't function without its (slightly) more flamboyant cousin, entertainment. Politics is pop-culture, really, and performers are the Greek chorus for our complicated and often absurd choices. It's why we love to see candidates distilled on comedy shows like SNL, why celebrities scramble to dress in political costumes. (See Katy Perry's Instagram for an eerie example.)

And they come out in the flesh for their candidates. Last weekend, Hillary Clinton joined Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony on stage in Miami. And there's this one closer to home: Pop music/culture critic Jay Cridlin brings news that Jon Bon Jovi will deliver a "Get Out the Vote" performance to rally for Clinton on Saturday in Tampa. Bon Jovi has also played shows and raised funds for John Kerry and Barack Obama.

Details are still developing, but read more in the Music Planner on Page 22. And check the SoundCheck blog at tampabay.com/soundcheck for the latest. Will Clinton pop out on stage, like she did with Lopez? She also sat in the audience at an Adele concert recently. Jay will report from the Bon Jovi event to see what happens.

We couldn't find any Donald Trump concerts going on in Tampa Bay, but we will let you know if they happen. Still, celebs are stumping for him. Scott Baio, of course, is tweeting for Trump. Other supporters include Real Housewives of New Jersey's Teresa Giudice and the family from Duck Dynasty. On the libation front, there's Richard Yuengling Jr., whose name you probably recognize from your beer bottle.

Some celebrity houses are divided. In maybe the final sign of election fatigue, we bring you dueling Baldwins. Billy Baldwin (team Clinton) has been publicly warring with Stephen Baldwin (team Trump). Meanwhile, their brother Alec Baldwin is playing Trump on SNL.

I'll get the tea going again.

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