LeBron James’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton Will Impact the Race, Says Ohio Political Professor

LeBron James made headlines away from basketball this past weekend when he voiced his support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. And while celebrity endorsements rarely sway voters one way or the other, the King’s could actually have a pretty big impact in Ohio, an important swing state in the 2016 election.

Three months removed from bringing Cleveland its first championship in over 50 years, James explained to Business Insider that the prospect of Clinton carrying on President Obama’s legacy is one of the biggest reasons why she’s getting his vote.

I support Hillary because she will build on the legacy of my good friend, President Barack Obama. I believe in what President Obama has done for our country and support her commitment to continuing that legacy.

With the election only 35 days away, Ohio will be one of the most important battleground states and Clinton spent Monday campaigning in James’s native Akron in an attempt to register voters and secure their vote in a community that is still largely undecided. Although James told reporters Monday that he wasn’t trying to sway voters with his endorsement, Dr. David A. Cohen, professor of political science and fellow in the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, says James’s op-ed could do just that.

“Akron is a crucial area for Hillary Clinton,” says Cohen. “Summit County is very important because it has the biggest populace in Ohio. It has a lot of Democrats but there is a lack of enthusiasm on the Democratic side. Without a doubt, I think LeBron James has an impact and drives out turnout for Hillary’s side.”


Clinton will likely need to carry Ohio if she wants to become the first female president since no candidate has won the White House without securing the Buckeye State since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Republican nominee Donald Trump appears to be ahead in the Ohio polls, according to CNN.

In the op-ed, James talked about one of the biggest reasons why he returned to Cleveland two summers ago was the chance to further impact the community around his native Akron through his LeBron James Family Foundation. The charity raises money to support educational initiatives that are aimed at uplifting and supporting the children of Akron.

When I look at this year’s presidential race, it’s clear which candidate believes the same thing. Only one person running truly understands the struggles of an Akron child born into poverty. And when I think about the kinds of policies and ideas the kids in my foundation need from our government, the choice is clear. That candidate is Hillary Clinton.

While there’s reason to be skeptical over how much influence a celebrity has over voters —“I don’t think Ohioans pay that much attention to celebrities at all, actually,” says Cohen—he believes James’s endorsement is different.

“He’s the biggest star in the state,” says Cohen. “He’s beloved in all communities throughout Ohio, especially important areas like Summit County where Akron is located.”

— with Keane Macadaeg 

source: complex.com BY

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