Which Candidate Wins Pop Culture Race?

Pop Culture Race
Do any of the 2016 presidential candidates have what it takes to fill the big pop culture void that will be left by President Barack Obama? Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI |

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) — Regardless of how you feel about President Barack Obama, his pervasiveness in pop culture is going to leave big shoes to fill for the next president.

Obama’s pop culture resume is long and varied. He collaborated with BuzzFeed to get the message out about Obamacare enrollment last year. He trekked into the Alaskan wilderness with outdoorsman Bear Grylls. He interviewed a teen for NPR’s StoryCorps. Recently, he took a drive with comedian Jerry Seinfeld in his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

Obama has been a president for the internet age. Instead of only interviewing with major media outlets, he’s sat down with comedian Marc Maron, who hosts the immensely popular WTF podcast. He hosted top YouTube stars at the White House for an interview just a few weeks ago. He’s chatted with news websites like Mic,BuzzFeed and even WebMD. One could argue he’s the most visible president in recent memory.

Will the next resident of the White House be able to measure up? Here’s a look at all the candidate’s resumes so far.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton appeared again on SNL, this time alongside Amy Poehler‘s Hillary Clinton.

Clinton recently appeared as “Val the bartender” opposite SNL’s Kate McKinnon, who was impersonating Clinton. It’s not her first comedy appearance this campaign season either — in September, she sat down for an interview with Donald Trumpas played by Jimmy Fallon.

As for real interviews off the beaten media path, Clinton recently reached out toBuzzFeed’a Another Round podcast for an interview. She also sat down with actress and director Lena Dunham for an interview on her newsletter Lenny. Dunham has since hit the campaign trail for Clinton.

Later this year, Clinton is slated to appear in the Comedy Central show “Broad City.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.

When someone runs for president, their past is fair game. Sanders is no exception. A clip of Sanders playing a rabbi in the low budget romantic comedy “My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception.” in 1999 has been making the rounds online in recent weeks. Sanders also played himself — at the time, mayor of Burlington, Vt. — in another romantic comedy called “Sweet Hearts Dance” starring Susan Sarandon, who has recently campaigned for Sanders.

Sanders does not only have acting credits either. Late Night host Seth Meyers not only unearthed pieces of Sanders’ fiction writing, but also a folk album he recorded in 1987.

Sanders is also set to appear on SNL Saturday night alongside comedian Larry David, who does an uncanny impersonation of the Vermont senator.

Donald Trump

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Trump is no stranger to the spotlight. His reality show, The Apprentice, ran for 13 seasons. Last year, The Celebrity Apprentice aired its seventh season.

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He hosted SNL in November, his second time doing so after decades of being impersonated on the show by the likes of Phil Hartman, Darrell Hammond and Jason Sudeikis.

One of his most notable cameos is in the 1992 sequel to Home Alone. Trump has also appeared in television shows like Sex in The City, Monk, Spin City, The Drew Carey Show and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. College Humor actually compiled a video of all of Trump’s cameos over the years, including that time he took someone down on Wrestlemania.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Fla.

The closest Cruz has come to stardom was appearing in a campaign ad with the cast of Duck Dynasty. It’s not the first time the reality TV family has involved itself in politics; they often make endorsements in political races in their home state of Louisiana.

However, he did share his recipe for bacon with conservative site Independent Journal. Spoiler: it involved a machine gun.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Cruz was not the only one to partner with Independent Journal. A few weeks ago, Rubio got a re-do after accidentally hitting a child in the face with a football. In the video, he tosses footballs to Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. — and even to fellow presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson.

Dr. Ben Carson

While Carson has made no cameos other than the one mentioned above, he was played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in a 2009 made for TV movie about his life called “Gifted Hands.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich

While Kasich has made few contributions to pop culture, it doesn’t mean he has no plans to. In fact, part of his presidential platform is to reunite Pink Floyd.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

Shortly after he announced his presidential run, Bush dropped in on the The Tonight Show to “slow jam” the news with Jimmy Fallon, as President Obama and many others did before him.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Last year, Christie hiked up his pants with to join Jimmy Fallon in “The Evolution of Dad Dancing.” He’s no stranger to the show, having “slow jammed” the news with Fallon a year before.

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina

Fiorina was another candidate featured in an Independent Journal arguing a very important campaign issue: why dogs are better than cats. At one point in the video, arms full with two puppies, Fiorina looks down at them and says: “You know, President Obama ate one of your cousins. Vote Republican.”

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore

Gilmore is a mystery to many voters. He won 12 votes in the whole state of Iowa, and has been excluded from six Republican debates so far, including Saturday’s in Manchester, N.H. Needless to say, Gilmore hasn’t made any cameos in movies or television.


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