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A Complete History of Musicians Running for Office

Celebrities making a run at public office is hardly a fresh phenomenon. That’s how we wound up with two terms of the Gipper in the White House, a former professional wrestler in the governor’s mansion of Minnesota, Gopher from the Love Boat in the House of Representatives, and the current political shitshow we find ourselves in. Nor is it a surprise to any regular person why they would think they could leverage their celebrity into a political career.

This pathology isn’t unique to actors and reality TV stars either.

Over the decades, a number of famous musicians have tried their hand at politics, some of them succeeding in their goals of policymaking and advocating on behalf of their constituents. While it may be jolting to see Kanye West weeping through a campaign event for his potential entry into the current presidential race, the precedent has already been set by several well-known artists, like the ones listed below, who have made successful and not-so-successful attempts to enter the political field.

Sonny Bono


Sonny Bono J. DAVID AKE/AFP via Getty Images

Cher’s ex-husband had an impressively successful career in politics. Beginning with four years as the mayor of Palm Springs and then three years in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing California’s 44th Congressional District. During his time in the House, Bono co-sponsored a bill, which, after it passed in 1998, extended the terms of copyrights for another 20 years. Sadly, Bono was not around to see the passage of that bill as he died in January 1998 from injuries sustained from a ski accident.