It’s a reflection of the tenuous times for both
Democrats and Hollywood that candidates looking to raise cash from
showbiz are taking a much more subtle tack than they did in 2008, when
Barack Obama fever was riding high.

Apart from California Sen.
Barbara Boxer, who was being toasted Sept. 19 with a Sheryl Crow concert
at the home of Magic Johnson, many Democrats hitting the showbiz
fund-raising circuit are flying in and out of Los Angeles on the same
day, so as to not create an issue out of their mingling with elites in
the height of campaign season.

With Democratic majorities in the
House and perhaps even the Senate in doubt on Nov. 2, these next few
weeks will be critical — and Hollywood, with its leftward tilt,
stands to feel the pinch from those seeking coin. Showbiz is still
investing heavily in candidates, perhaps more for ideological reasons
than for what will affect the business, but the uniform rallying cry
that led to Obama’s election two years ago has yet to materialize. At
stake are changes that will affect not just the industry, but activism
involved in championing various causes.

That’s my latest story in the print edition of Variety, which you can read here.