Idolization of Politicians: A Dangerous Trend

Josie Krupens, Opinions Editor

   Internet culture, for better or for worse, is deeply intertwined with politics, and it’s become clear that this can be both a blessing and a curse for American democracy. Recently, the curse end is revealing itself, as Democrats’ celebration of their presidential win edges past the line of reason. The slogan “Settle for Biden” has been pushed aside in favor of President Joe Biden fancams and Vice President Kamala Harris being called a “girlboss,” with fans fawning over them as if they’re picture-perfect idols. It seems silly on the outside — just excited Democrats celebrating their victory in a fun, slightly odd, way — but considering the influence of these politicians on the daily lives of all Americans, they should be focusing less on “stanning” and more on policy agendas. People should not idolize politicians, but recognize their influence and hold them accountable.

   What does idolization entail exactly? People seem to be treating politicians the same way they treat celebrities. According to 34th Street Magazine, “We make political prayer candles, stylizing politicians as literal saints, and we hyperfixate on how ‘cute’ they are in fan-made video edits rather than how effective they are” ( This is more similar to the way fans treat their favorite celebrities or influencers, rather than how people should treat politicians. Even if both politicians and celebrities are huge figures in the public eye, they have very different functions in society. Celebrities do not make policy (with some exceptions for celebrities-turned-politicians), politicians do, and these lawmakers should never be immune to criticism in a way that mainstream celebrities are. When people idolize politicians on social media like they do celebrities, they provide less of a space for open debate and criticism of politicians’ policies and decisions, which are both integral to a functional democracy.

   Politicians are far from perfect, and people need to acknowledge and criticize their bad decisions. According to Study Breaks Magazine, as political figures were romanticized in the past, grievances such as “…Obama’s drone strikes, Reagan’s dismissal of the AIDS crisis and Bush’s unethical invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan…” were brushed aside by supporters ( Presidents and other government officials often have serious mishandling of issues and events on their records, and when supporters wave them off to hold up a perfect (but ultimately fake) image of these people, it only hurts the spread of necessary information to voters. According to 34th Street Magazine, “By sweeping the mistakes and abuses of power that politicians commit regularly under the rug, we erase the only check that the electorate holds against the political elite” ( Holding politicians accountable for their actions is important, because that way Americans let them know what is and is not acceptable, and when politicians are being treated as larger-than-life figures, their grievances are ignored.

   Even if Biden’s win was a resounding victory for Democrats, he and Harris should not be idolized, especially considering some of their past decisions. According to the Daily Orange, “Biden has advocated for cutting Social Security for the past 40 years, worked with two segregationist senators to oppose desegregation policies of the U.S. Department of Education and supported the infamous 1994 Crime Bill” ( According to the Washington Post, the 1994 Crime Bill encouraged states to “…build and fill new prisons,” which contributed to an increase in mass incarceration ( 

   Harris, on a similar note, has a questionable past as attorney general of California. According to the Appeal, she failed to properly investigate police misconduct, and supported policies that “…were part and parcel of a system of mass incarceration that has deeply harmed poor people and communities of color.” She was not consistent in “reforming the broken system” and her actions during that time were often contradictory ( Yes, these actions supporting a deranged system of mass incarceration happened in the past. However, they shouldn’t be ignored by those treating politicians as saints. These past actions are a warning to America about possible future behavior, and supporters of Biden and Harris have to keep a close eye on them; as mentioned above, it is the job of the people to hold lawmakers accountable for their actions and promises, and that cannot happen when they’re being blindly idolized.

   No politician is perfect, but even so, it is not impossible to critically support a politician; in fact, that’s often the best many American voters can do. Senior Abby Cosgrove said, “Some support is necessary to persuade people to vote for a better candidate, but completely idolizing them is not the right way to do it.” There is a difference between voting for politicians but still recognizing and openly criticizing their choices, and blindly idolizing them whilst ignoring their every mistake.

   Politicians are not celebrities, and should not be treated as such. When leaders are put on a pedestal, it allows for crucial mishandlings of power to slip through the cracks. If Democrats wish to rise above Trump supporters, they need to scrutinize Biden and Harris like they did Trump, support them only as the best choice in a cesspool of political imperfection, and hold them accountable for their actions instead of treating them as larger-than-life figures.