Oprah: Growing talk of a 2020 run
Progressives, rejoice, said Sally Kohn in CNN.com. With an “inspiring,” stump-ready speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday about ending sexual harassment, Oprah Winfrey ignited long-simmering speculation that she would run for president in 2020. Some of the billionaire TV star’s friends said she was “actively considering” a presidential run, and her best friend, CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King, said Oprah was “intrigued by the idea.” Democrats are intrigued, too. Winfrey is everything President Trump isn’t: a genuinely self-made billionaire who climbed to the pinnacle from poverty, with a long history of helping and inspiring people. Winfrey is certainly popular enough to win, said Josh Barro in BusinessInsider.com. Her millions of viewers and fans—many of them working-class women—believe that “Oprah ‘gets’ them and cares about them.” She would appeal to many of the Americans who voted for Trump “in a way other Democratic candidates could not.”
“Get a grip, people,” said Paul Waldman in WashingtonPost.com. Yes, Winfrey would probably win the Democratic nomination, with the media doing everything in its power to create a “Trump-Oprah throwdown.” But her record is far from stainless. She has given a prominent platform to anti-vaxxers, and promoted quackery including “The Secret,” a lucrative self-help program that teaches “if you wish really hard for something” you will somehow get it. Besides, we’ve already elected a billionaire celebrity with no experience in politics, foreign policy, and governance—and it’s proving an unmitigated disaster. What we’ll need after Trump is “a deeply serious figure with a strong record of public service,” said Thomas Chatterton Williams in The New York Times. The fact that so many liberals would prefer Oprah is a damning sign that the party has no one better—and that the presidency has become “just another prize for celebrities.”
It’s not the voters’ fault that celebrities are running for office, said Michael Brendan Dougherty in NationalReview.com. “I blame the wonks.” Elected leaders have effectively ceded responsibility for governing to a permanent bureaucracy of hundreds of thousands of policymakers, party apparatchiks, and “experts” who actually run Washington. As a result, there is no need for wise, experienced elected leaders. In the new world order, celebrities like Trump and Oprah can “do the job of winning elections and riling up the public,” while the permanent political class makes the real decisions.