Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the Broadway hit Hamilton, has vowed to get into as much political advocacy as he can once he steps down from his acclaimed hip-hop musical next month—when he is not busy shooting the Mary Poppins sequel, at least.
“I’m going to be trying to get out the Latino vote as hard as possible,” Miranda—a New York native of Puerto Rican descent—told reporters last week, discussing his post-Hamilton plans.
“I think it’s very clear that Latinos living in the United States—their interests are bound up in voting this year, and I’ll leave it at that, but making sure people turn out is going to be a priority for me,” he continued. “Our issues are on the table, from Puerto Rico to a wall to keep half of us out being a [Republican] Party platform. It’s important we get out and vote.”
This year, with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump being particularly loathed by Hispanic voters, Miranda (who has achieved a new level of fame and visibility with the success of his Alexander Hamilton production) has suddenly become a much sought-after political commodity for the Democrats and Latino activists.
On Tuesday, Politico reported that Miranda was at the very top of the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC’s wishlist for desired performing artists for the Democratic National Convention next month in Philadelphia.
Team Hillary’s hopes are likely to be dashed due to Miranda’s Mary Poppins commitments. However, Miranda has also met privately with representatives of several Latino political advocacy organizations to discuss voter outreach and potential collaborations leading up to the November election, The Daily Beast has learned.
In late January, Miranda’s father Luis Miranda Jr. (a political consultant and major player in Democratic politics in New York) treated some friends and political allies to a performance of Hamilton, currently playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan. The elder Miranda’s guests included Brent Wilkes, the national executive director for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and Hector Sanchez, executive director of the Labor Council For Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA).
As much as the two activists enjoyed the rap musical’s set design and the expected showstoppers, what they were really anticipating was when Act II would end, and they would be ushered backstage for a private conversation with Hamilton’s leading man. During their meeting, the small gathering talked about voter outreach, the importance of the 2016 election, and the prospect of Miranda lending his star power.
“We’ve been talking about the need to push back against Donald Trump with his dad for a long time,” Wilkes told The Daily Beast. “And we talked to [Miranda] about using his fame and celebrity status to have an impact on elections, voter turnout for Latinos, and talked about how it is a really important year in terms of Latino issues.”
The meeting lasted roughly 15 minutes—and Miranda was on board.
“We didn’t have to do a lot of convincing,” Wilkes said. “He seemed committed to do it.”
Wilkes said he didn’t bring up Trump’s name during their backstage chat because he “didn’t want to kill the mood”—but the message couldn’t have been clearer: The Republican Party—especially its nominee—is presenting a clear and present danger to Latino communities this year, and these groups wanted Miranda to help them send a big message on election day.
“We’ve been under horrible attack as a community,” Sanchez told The Daily Beast. “Voices like Lin-Manuel’s are so critical… to amplify the importance of Latino civic participation. He’s been such a powerful voice for Latino issues, [and] social justice issues.”
Miranda has been asked about Trump in virtually every printed interview he’s done in the past few months, and hasn’t had much more than negative things to say. During a commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania last month, Miranda slammed Trump (though not by name), telling the students and audience that “immigrants get the job done.”
In past election years, Miranda was even less charitable to The Donald, calling him America’s “First National Fuckface.”
In the time since the January meeting, Miranda has also had preliminary discussions with the Latino Victory Project, a group that focuses on building Latino political power nationwide co-founded by actress and Democratic player Eva Longoria, who calls Miranda her “genius friend.”
“It is something we are looking into,” Pili Tobar, the LVP’s spokeswoman said. “[Our president] Cristóbal Alex talked to him after a show recently.”
Miranda has also started a raffle for tickets to his final Hamilton show with proceeds benefiting the Hispanic Federation (where his father served as founding president), and cut a voter-registration PSA for the nonprofit.
This kind of political advocacy isn’t out of character for Miranda, who has donated to Democratic candidates such as Richard Carmona and Barack Obama. In his twenties, he got paid to compose music for English- and Spanish-language ads for Democratic politicians. In 2012, he starred in a get-out-the-vote video for Movimiento Hispano, which was coordinated by the Hispanic Federation, LULAC, and LCLAA.
Miranda hosted the Obama 2012 fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in Harlem where the president sang part of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” Four years later, he would freestyle with Obama at the White House:
LULAC hopes that Hamilton cast members will cut more ads for them soon, including a Hamilton-themed GOTV message, spearheaded and produced by Miranda, featuring multiple actors.
“He has definitely committed to that,” Wilkes said. “This isn’t a Hollywood family. [Miranda’s] is a political family—it’s something he grew up with.”
Miranda’s publicist, as well as Miranda’s father, did not respond to requests for comment on this story.