Saturday, 31 March 2018

Entertainment: Actress in 'clueless' drops out of congressional race

Actress in 'clueless' drops out of congressional race

Less than five weeks after declaring her candidacy for Congress, actress Stacey Dash announced Friday that she was withdrawing from the race to represent a heavily Democratic House district in California.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Dash — who is best known for her role in the 1995 movie “Clueless” — said she had concluded that the “bitterness surrounding our political process,” the “rigors of campaigning” and even the act of holding office itself would be harmful to her family.

“Deciding to withdraw my candidacy was a difficult choice, but I have to go where I feel God is leading me,” she said.

Dash, 51, is a Republican, and her decision to compete for a seat in California’s 44th District was puzzling. The district encompasses much of South Los Angeles, including largely black cities and neighborhoods like Compton and Watts, as well as communities that are increasingly Latino.

Hillary Clinton received 83 percent of the vote there in the 2016 presidential election, and Barack Obama won similar shares in 2008 and 2012.

Nanette Barragán, a Democrat, is the district’s current representativeand has announced that she is running for re-election. Among Barragán’s challengers will be Aja Brown, a highly visible Democrat who became Compton’s youngest mayor in 2013.

Dash came onto the political stage in earnest when she endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012. She was a Fox News contributor from 2014 to 2016 and an early supporter of President Donald Trump. Her endorsements of Republican candidates drew significant attention, and backlash, in part because she is black.

In an interview with journalist Nicholas Ballasy in June 2016, after she released a memoir titled “There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative,” Dash said she had been ostracized in Hollywood because of her political views. Her agents had dropped her, she said, and she had not auditioned for a role in more than a year.

Asked in that interview how she would pitch Trump to African-American and Hispanic voters, she paraphrased the adage that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

“Why do you keep voting Democrat, and nothing changes?” asked Dash, who has said she voted for Obama in 2008 before switching parties. “Try something new.”

In her statement on Friday, she continued that line of attack, arguing that constituents in the 44th District had been forgotten by the Democratic Party.

People “on the lower end of the economic spectrum” had been offered “little more than symbolic gestures,” she said. Politicians, she argued, had come to accept high crime, decaying infrastructure and staggering high school dropout rates as the norm.

“The people living here deserve better,” she said. “I will continue to speak out.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

MATT STEVENS © 2018 The New York Times

Entertainment: Actress in 'clueless' drops out of congressional race



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