Matthew McConaughey has been on the fence about a possible run for governor of Texas for months now, and he discusses his feelings about entering politics in the latest edition of the New York Times podcast “Sway”.
Referencing polls that place him well ahead of incumbent Greg Abbott, McConaughey admitted he’s still weighing his options.
“One side of the argument is, McConaughey, exactly. That’s why you need to go get in there,” he told host Kara Swisher, pondering whether he’d have more influence by remaining on the sidelines.
“The other side is, pfft, that’s a bag of rats, man,” he said of entering politics. “Don’t touch that with a 10-foot pole. There’s another — you have another lane. You have another category to have influence, and get done things you’d like to get done, and help how you think you can help, and even heal divides. Maybe it’s much better outside of politics.”
He also shared his view on the state’s draconian new anti-abortion legislation that criminalizes abortion after six weeks, at a time when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant, while making no allowances whatsoever for victims of rape and incest.
“Yeah, now, the abortion — this new SB 8, six-week abortion ban — I’m not going to come out and tell you right now on this show, here’s where I stand on abortion. We’ve been trying to figure out that, and how to play God with that situation, since the beginning. But this latest move by Texas? It’s a little bit of… feels like a back to front sort of Roe v. Wade loophole that they’re trying to get into,” he explained.
“It’s a — feels a little juvenile in its implementation to me. Like, hey, we’ll pay for bounties if you call in and see somebody going in there. And also, you know, how it deals — and doesn’t really — isn’t responsible for rape and incest, that’s — I got a problem with that. And also, six weeks. Six weeks? If you’re saying that your discussion of abortion is even on the table to consider, six weeks does not really make that a honest consideration.”
If McConaughey does decide to enter politics, his popularity at the box office could take a major hit, according to political consultants who shared their opinions with The Hollywood Reporter.
“Right now, he can be everything to everyone,” said Mark P. Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University in Texas. “Democrats and Republicans would want to know: What’s your position on gun control? Abortion? Natural gas pipelines? And the moment he starts taking positions, he starts losing people.”
According to Texas political consultant Keir Murray, a McConaughey gubernatorial bid could also do some serious damage to his trustworthiness as a commercial pitchman for such brands as Lincoln and Wild Turkey bourbon.
“He’s got a positive and favourable brand, but as soon as you dip your toe in the political pool people start to hate you,” Murray explains. “Does he want to change that brand and damage it? Because that’s inevitable. His brand will never be the same again.”