Between 10 and 15 million voters in this country decide the outcome of Presidential elections and the partisan makeup of the Congress. These are the voters who “swing” from one party to the other during election cycles. Capturing the majority of these voters is the path to winning control of the government.
It is said that Donald Trump received 75 million votes in this past election while Joe Biden received 81 million. Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton but prevailed by narrow margins in a handful of states in order to win the Electoral College. Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by 5 million votes nationwide and beat John McCain by 9.5 million votes — the largest margin of victory since Ronald Reagan won by 17 million votes 24 years earlier.
The Presidential election now is won through prevailing by narrow margins in several closely contested states, while each side has significant majorities among the remaining states. Issues and messages that swing voters in the middle in one direction, and then back in the other direction, are where the keys to victory are found. It is nearly inconceivable that 65-70 million Democrats would ever vote for a Republican for President, and a similar number of Republicans would never vote for a Democrat for President. The “swing” voters in the middle are the votes “in play,” and those are the votes that decide the contests.
Hollywood and popular culture have always been a “one-way street” for liberal political views to be force-fed to the broader population, including swing voters. This goes back to World War II — and before — when there really were Communists in prominent positions in Hollywood working to popularize communist ideology through film and later TV. As an example, in listening to a podcast recently about the 2005 comedy “Wedding Crashers,” the participants observed that if the movie were remade today, the “evil boyfriend” character played by actor Bradley Cooper would have some reference made about him being a Trump supporter. Another participant in the podcast noted that, given the 2005 time frame in which the movie was made, that character was clearly meant to be a “Bush guy.” The liberals in Hollywood have never made a secret about their stereotypical archetypes.
Membership in the liberal Hollywood celebrity tribe has been, in almost all cases, a necessity to prosper as a performer in popular culture. Those choosing to go in a different direction with their views and beliefs have, in almost all cases, been required to carve out a place for themselves in the industry in a non-traditional fashion. Probably the most obvious example of having done so is Clint Eastwood, who has refused to live in Los Angeles or be part of the Hollywood culture for 50 years and has created a little film industry unto himself in the Monterey Bay area of Northern California.
But “talent” that makes their conservative political views flow the other direction — providing a voice of conservatism via their celebrity that reaches into the broader population and that swing voter demographic — must be choked off. MIT-educated and two-time Oscar nominee James Woods — although a Democrat and Independent up through 2016 — can’t find work in Hollywood any longer because of his outspoken conservative political views and support for Pres. Trump.
Gina Carano is a case study in accidental stardom. By her own admission, she was living a rather ordinary life in Las Vegas in her early 20s — a UNLV grad with a degree in psychology. She took up kickboxing because her boyfriend at the time was a professional in the sport. That one moment of searching for a solution to boredom while he was in the gym put her on a path to becoming a participant in the first sanctioned MMA contest in Nevada between two women, from which Carano emerged the victor, launching her on a new career path. She gained exposure through her involvement in various media efforts capitalizing on the novelty of female mixed martial arts at the time — and making good use of her noteworthy attractiveness. She signed to be a female “Gladiator” in the long-running television show “American Gladiators”. But her physical attractiveness took on a new dimension when she struggled to make weight for an MMA bout in 2008. Exchanging a towel for her clothing, Carano was still slightly over the weight limit for the fight. With cameras rolling — and a wall of towels serving as a visual barrier for purposes of modesty — Carano dropped the towel wrapped around her body and made the weight for the fight. Pre-fight “weigh-ins” in boxing and MMA would never be quite the same.
Carano enjoyed a successful MMA career over a few years but soon discovered an entirely new area of opportunities open for her in Hollywood when, in 2011, she was cast in a starring role by famed directed Steven Soderbergh in his film “Haywire.” The lead female role was of a “black ops” operative for a private security firm targeted for assassination, reminiscent of the “Jason Bourne” series. It was Carano’s first movie role in a significant motion picture, and she found herself in a leading role in a cast that included “A-Listers” Michael Douglas, Ewan MacGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, and Channing Tatum. Because of her physical abilities, she was able to do all her own stunt work and pull off a realistic portrayal of a technically skilled “black ops” operative. The movie was a modest hit — Carano’s performance was mildly criticized based on her inexperience vis-a-vis the other actors in the movie, but it made Carano a Hollywood actress. Carano went on to appear in several more movies over the next seven years, but it was her role of Cara Dune in the Star Wars spinoff series “The Mandalorian” for Disney that put her on top.
The Texas-born and Las Vegas-raised Carano arrived in Hollywood far enough into her adulthood to have already formed her own views and opinions about the world and politics. Not having to “take sheet” from the Harvey Weinsteins of the world — being quite able to literally kick that sheet right out of them — she has never been shy about sharing her political views.
Carano refused social media pressure to express support for Black Lives Matter during the summer of 2020, and “liked” social media posts by others that criticized BLM. She made light of the trendy fad of adding “preferred pronouns” to online biographies by listing hers as “Beep/Bop/Boop.” She has criticized mask mandates in response to COVID-19 and questioned the wisdom of the expansion of mail-in balloting for the 2020 election.
During the fall of 2020, the hashtag #FireGinaCarano circulated widely among left-wingers on social media. But when the second season of The Mandalorian was rolled out by Disney in October 2020, Carano’s character played a major role in support of the title character’s heroics throughout.
Disney announced last week that Carano is not currently under contract with Disney for any program in production, nor is it anticipated that she will be employed by Disney for any program in the future — presumably including future seasons of The Mandalorian. Several spin-off series from characters introduced through The Mandalorian were announced by Disney at the end of 2020, and it was presumed that one of those would have involved the Cara Dune character. It has been written that Jon Favreau, the creator, executive producer, and primary writer for The Mandalorian, created the “Cara Dune” character specifically for Carano. But Favreau has a deep business relationship with Disney. Whether he had any intention of continuing to use her character in the coming seasons of The Mandolorian is not publicly known.
Disney’s announcement came in response to caterwauling from the radical left over Carano making a historically accurate point on her Instagram account that Jews in Poland were made easier to identify and round-up when the German Nazis used propaganda to stigmatize and demonize the Jews to their fellow Poles who were not Jewish. The German campaign instigated a hatred of Polish Jews by their neighbors in the communities where they lived, ahead of the forced relocation of Polish Jews to depopulated “ghetto” neighborhoods run by German civil authorities that lacked proper sanitation or sufficient food. This societal isolation originated from the Nazis’ propaganda that the Jews were the cause of societal ills, and ultimately led to Hitler’s “Final Solution” — genocide against European Jewry.
Carano’s social media post made the not-too-subtle analogy of the Nazis to the modern-day demands of the woke left following the “victory” of Joe Biden, the seeming ascendancy of the politics of critical race theory, and the demonization of caucasian Anglo-Saxon-led conservatism, i.e., “white supremacy.”
In referencing Carano’s social media analogy, Disney either purposely — or idiotically by accident — misattributed its decision with the following explanation:
Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Her most recent post about Jews and their neighbors seems to not have been the basis upon which Disney is claiming to have made its decision with regard to her future with the company. She does not denigrate Jews “based on their cultural or religious identities” in any manner with her comment. What she wrote on social media was the following:
“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.”
Her analogy is between the Nazi “fascism” and “wokeism.” Talk of “re-education camps” for “domestic terrorists” — referring to those who have political disagreements with left-wing politics — reflects the thinking behind Carano’s comment. The suggestions by the woke media and Hollywood that political opposition is inherently evil and must be silenced comes from the same playbook used by the Nazis to demonize and stigmatize Jews before moving to round them all up and isolate them from society at large.
She’s not comparing conservatives to Jews — which is the portrayal that the left-wing has given her comment — she’s comparing modern-day left-wing fascism to Nazi fascism in the sense that both want to eradicate troublesome opposition by blaming that opposition for being the cause of trouble in the land.
The amplification of her views through the megaphone of her Hollywood celebrity could not be tolerated by maybe the wokest of woke companies in Hollywood — Disney, a world-wide media behemoth. That one of their topline stars would align herself with the non-woke in such public ways was not tolerable. She could not be a source of conservative thought extending its reach via Disney portals of entertainment and communication.
At 38, with a background in professional sports, media, and Hollywood entertainment, Carano’s societal reach across the spectrum of political thought is probably unmatched in today’s cultural landscape — at least among conservatives. Her unflinching willingness to use that reach to voice a message contradicting the group-think that flows from Hollywood and New York makes her uniquely dangerous to the forces of wokeism.
Carano is in the early stages of her celebrity-dom. She’ll be even more closely embraced now in conservative media circles. She probably has a future in politics if she wants one — which makes her joining forces with Daily Wire creator Ben Shapiro just that much more interesting.
Hollywood waited too long.