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Why is American politics so obsessed with celebrity?

Biden’s use of celebrities represented a careful restoration of the presidency’s aura, which had slipped woefully during Trump’s administration. Will it last?

By Caspar Salmon  

For at least the past century or so, the American presidency has managed to attach itself to the stardom of film and music, earning a sort of refracted glamour in the process. Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA Today/Sipa USA

The biggest winner from Joe Biden’s inauguration as president of the United States last week—at least in terms of social media impact—has been Bernie Sanders. His bemittened image, huddled alone in a coat, has been reproduced in countless memes that are somehow still going. Much of the reason for this popularity stems from Sanders’s unvarnished, no-nonsense image: the mittens are handmade, he’s wearing a standard disposable mask, and is clearly freezing.

It’s surprising, though, that Sanders emerged triumphant when Joe Biden was careful to put so much star power on his side. Lady Gaga belted out the national anthem, and…

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