For film and television actor Sean Astin, presidential elections have always been significantly important, but there’s added weight to this election cycle due to the matters of contention between the two major candidates.
Astin, whose film credits include “The Goonies,” “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “Rudy,” made an appearance at the Boulder Field tailgate before Saturday’s UNH football game to campaign on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
New Hampshire is the 14th state that Astin has visited through his endorsement efforts for Clinton’s campaign, and as of Saturday afternoon, he had plans to visit at least three more states in his crusade.
“It’s been amazing to be welcomed into different places,” Astin said. “New Hampshire has been no different, where people are willing to hear my viewpoints.”
Though Saturday’s overcast weather probably wasn’t ideal for the outdoor event, Astin nonetheless participated in typical tailgating activities with the other attendees, while also sharing his political message.
“[At the tailgate,] it looks like [people] are having fun, barbequing shrimp and doing this other stuff, but I get worried that people will forget, so what I would say is ‘please don’t forget to vote,’” Astin said.
On the topic of how Clinton’s opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, has no prior experience in government, Astin said, “To me that is where it starts and stops, you cannot hire a president of the United States with no experience in government.”
“I have confidence in [Clinton]; I like her; I trust her,” Astin said. “I have just watched her over the last 25 years trying to help people and people are always trying to tear her down. And the more that people are trying to tear her down, the more I want to defend her.”
The origin of his political support for Clinton traces back to 1992, when she held a rally as the fist lady of Arkansas at the University of Colorado Boulder and he was asked to be a surrogate for the campaign.
“It was mesmerizing, she was absolutely brilliant. She understood the issues,” Astin said of his first introduction to Clinton. “She was so passionate and compassionate, her world view is so comprehensive, encompassing and inclusive.”
According to Astin, nothing can match the power and impact of the government in terms of the ability “to move money and move mountains,” and he said he believes Clinton has the knowledge on how to handle such situations.
He also mentioned that because of the travel pertaining to his endorsement campaign, he would be missing Halloween celebrations this year with his two younger children.
“[I do it] because if I do my part and somebody else does their part, then some college kid gets a Pell grant in two years. Some kid gets an inoculation that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten because government programs actually affect people’s lives,” Astin said.
In retrospect to the previous efforts made by Clinton to improve federal policies, Astin said, “She learned a lot, she failed a lot and succeeded a lot. And I want her in charge of fixing what’s not right… It’s worth a few months of my time. It’s worth it, absolutely worth it.”
Astin’s UNH visit followed in suit of previous Democratic celebrity endorsements over the course of the past month from such actors as Tim Daly, Connie Britton and Kate Walsh.
“I think it’s a great way to get more young people involved,” freshman political science major and College Democrats member Elias Tyrrel-Walker said on the topic of celebrity endorsements. “Everyone that we’ve had so far has been really good at pitching and talking [about] why [endorsing Clinton] matters to them.”
With Election Day bearing close to a week away, Tyrrel-Walker holds a similar mindset to Astin in regard to student involvement in the voting process.
“My hope is that as many people go out to vote as possible,” Tyrrel-Walker said. “We’ve been working very hard to make sure that happens and we’ll keep working hard until Election Day.”