Oprah: A 2020 challenger?
It’s an idea Democrats may be giving serious consideration over the next few years, said Gretel Kauffman in CSMonitor.com: “Oprah 2020.” In an interview released last week, Oprah Winfrey said President Trump’s unlikely election victory had got her wondering whether she, too, could run the country. “I thought, ‘Oh gee, I don’t have the experience. I don’t know enough,’” Winfrey said. “Now I’m thinking, ‘Oh? Oh!’” The “beloved matriarch of afternoon talk shows” later insisted she’d never actually run. But that hasn’t stopped her many admirers from voicing support for an Oprah candidacy. Why not? said Kimberly Atkins in the Boston Herald. In the “celebrity-thirsty world of politics,” Winfrey could be President Trump’s “kryptonite.” The talk-show icon has a genuine “rags-to-riches story,” having overcome “poverty, abuse, and bigotry” to become America’s first black female billionaire. She has “100 percent name recognition” and a proven ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Most important of all? “People trust her.”
Is this a joke? asked Neil Steinberg in the Chicago Sun-Times. Trump’s victory may have shown that political experience counts for nothing in winning elections. But the utter “chaos” of his first six weeks in office should serve as a reminder that “electing a president based on a lack of government experience is like choosing a surgeon based on scant medical knowledge.” His disorderly administration should be a “grim cautionary tale” against elevating clueless celebrities with massive egos and bank accounts to the Oval Office, not a “template for more of the same.”
Winfrey isn’t the only celebrity being talked up as a potential Democratic savior, said Matthew Garrahan and Courtney Weaver in the Financial Times. Other names that have been floated include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and tech billionaire Mark Cuban. The fact that Democrats are talking about these nonpoliticians as possible presidential candidates not only shows how shaken they were by Trump’s election victory, but also just how dry the Democratic talent pool is. The party has no “heir apparent,” and no young stars who look capable of inspiring voters the way Barack Obama and Bill Clinton once did. That’s why the party is actually talking about running an outsider like Winfrey or Zuckerberg. As party strategist Jim Manley puts it: “If this is the best we’ve got, we’re in a world of hurt right now.” ■