PHILADELPHIA–You can tell a lot about a person by their friends, and you also can tell a lot about a politician by the stars they attract.
Donald Trump promised flash and spectacle at the Republican National Convention — and he needed it to fill the speech spots left open by dissenting members of Congress and high-profile Republicans. But where the RNC ultimately failed to deliver on star power, the Democratic National Convention has picked up with gusto.
The opening night of the DNC saw lots of big names. There was pop-singer Demi Lovato singing “Confident,” 90s R&B heartthrobs Boyz II Men belting out “Motownphilly” and Paul Simon—whose work “America” Bernie Sanders used for his campaign theme song — sang “Bridge over Troubled Water.”
Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” fame spoke as did comedian and former Bernie Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman. There also was a video cameo from Ken Jeong of the “Hangover,” and throughout the night celebrities dotted the arena taking a look at the action.
Josh Gad, Alison Pill, Troian Bellisario, Tim Daly, Reid Scott, David Schwimmer and Bryan Cranston were only a few of the faces mingling with delegates throughout the night.
And that’s just who was inside the convention to support Hillary Clinton. All of Philadelphia is saturated with celebrities.
Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas are just a few of the acts performing at events planned around the convention.
Comedians Chelsea Handler, Lena Dunham and Elizabeth Banks also are in the City of Brotherly Love to give talks in conjunction with media organizations.
Compared to the RNC, the DNC looks like the MTV Music Video Awards.
To be fair, the RNC wasn’t completely bare of musical acts. Notable names who performed in Cleveland were Kid Rock, The Band Perry, Rick Springfield (of “Jessie’s Girl” fame) and 90’s pop band Third Eye Blind.
At the GOP convention Trump had speakers such as Scott Baio, of “Jonnie Loves Chachi,” and Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame.
Yet some of the Cleveland acts seemed reluctant to be there — and some went to lengths to make it clear their appearance wasn’t in support of the Republican Party. During Springfield’s performance he wore a shirt that read, typos and all, “Not and endorse-ment.” Third Eye Blind took it further, taunting the audience during its set by asking “who here believes in science?” and refusing to play any of their more popular hits — only acquiescing to play the hit “Jumper,” a song about suicide after speaking out about LGBT rights.
Representatives for both groups made it clear that the artists were at the convention as charity gigs not affiliated with politics what-so-ever.
In contrast it seems that the Democrats can’t keep celebrities away.
Taking in the convention floor Monday night, Reid Scott, known as Dan Egan on the HBO show “VEEP,” said he came to town to support the Creative Arts Coalition, a lobby for arts education funding, and the presidential party. When asked why he didn’t attend the RNC, he lamented that maybe he should have.
“It would have made for some good content,” he said, “But if I had pitched what’s happening there as an episode for the show, the writers would have thought it was too out there.”