Cause Celeb

Can star power create social change?

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Celeb: Rob Reiner, film director/producer and Michael Stivic on “All in the Family”

Cause: Funding child development programs

What he’s done: Wrote and led the fight for Proposition 10, a successful 1998 ballot initiative to raise California cigarette taxes 50 cents per pack to fund such programs

What celeb gets: Serious political credibility and tangible achievements for a personal crusade

What cause gets: A steady flow of money — the tax hike might bring in up to $750 million a year.

Connection between celeb and cause: Reiner traces some of his own personality problems to his earliest years. This gives him an intense interest in early childhood development, where he thinks the most important help is given.

Chance celeb will humiliate cause: If it can stand constant press references to “Meathead,” very little. Reiner got props from the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Time, and London’s Financial Times, leaving both celebrity and cause basking in the warm glow of respect.

Actual results? Against the odds — Californians aren’t known to be eager to tax themselves — Reiner and crew pulled it off.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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