#Oprah2020: A Possible Oprah Winfrey Presidency?
You read that right.
With the current US administration only 352 days deep in its term, many Americans are already looking forward to the next US elections in 2020 with a very specific candidate in mind: talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.
The buzz about the 63-year-old philanthropist running for America's highest seat of power instantaneously began seconds after she delivered an electrifying acceptance speech at the 75th Golden Globes. In a moment where most celebrities deliver brief and slightly funny speeches at best, Oprah brought her audience to its feet in tearful, thunderous applause with her messages of positivity and empowerment.
Her speech focused on the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, confidently stating that "a new dawn" that could purge Hollywood and society as a whole of its cultural and social issues was about to break.
Oprah was awarded with Cecile B. DeMille award, an honor given to an entertainment figure for positively impacting the industry. This event made her the first black woman in history to receive it, and only the fourth African-American to get it since it was first given in the 50s.
"For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare to speak their truth..." In a powerful moment at the #GoldenGlobes, Oprah Winfrey passionately accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award: "A new day is on the horizon. When that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say #MeToo again." #oprah #oprahwinfrey (Paul Drinkwater/USA Today)
TV Network NBC that aired the Golden Globes released a now-deleted tweet that read "Nothing but respect for OUR future president." The tweet from the news outlet put into words what other American citizens who watched Oprah's speech had been thinking. It pretty much gave them the go to break the Internet with tweets and all other posts of support—or in some cases, opposition.
No one can deny that Oprah is a godsend. As a survivor of sexual abuse herself and having grown up in a family home that was far less than privileged, she's been able to project personal experiences onto her interviews and advocacies to be able to truly touch people's lives. Outside of television, Oprah is known to be an outspoken advocate for women and children's rights and overall, she is a living example of not allowing your past to haunt or hinder you, but rather using it to build and strengthen character.
While those are excellent qualities to have as an entertainment personality that an audience of millions looks up to—and certainly qualities a good politician must have—are they enough to earn her serious consideration for the next US elections?
The experts say, probably not.
As Vanity Fair's Tina Nguyen puts it, while not yet confirmed, an Oprah Winfrey presidential nomination could be the Democrats' answer to the current Republican Donald Trump administration. At surface value, it appears that pitting her up against him is like fighting fire with water, with the latter successfully extinguishing the former. But a closer inspection reveals that it might be closer to fighting fire with fire.
That is not to say that Oprah is in any way comparable to the current US president in terms of worldview or political leanings. Rather, it means that she, just like him, is influential, powerful, and for the most part, captivating, but both are politically inexperienced, lacking in policy know-how, and have no background in governance that they can draw from. The two are practically polar opposites, but are cut of the same cloth when it comes to being (ill) equipped with presidential knowledge.
While Oprah is certainly more kind-hearted, self-aware, politically correct, and socially responsible than President Trump, she'll have a never-ending string of crash courses to attend to be able to say she knows more than him when it comes to running a country as its president.
It is incorrect to assume that mastery of the TV ratings game is a skill that can be re-interpreted as one able to ring in the polls come voting time. Many Americans love Oprah and her work as much as the next person, but such loving doesn't (or shouldn't) equate to believing she can right the decades-spanning ills of America's political landscape right off the bat because she writes pretty awesome speeches and has impressive interview skills.
It was also noted that this explosion of Oprah-for-President wishful thinking is reflective of the country's thirst for a refreshed America. At this point, change-hungry Americans are going through a massive taking apart of and putting back together of their political institutions, a time that salon.com writer Cory Booker dubs as something "that isn’t surprising, in the era of Nothing Is Surprising."
After all, no one would have thought that business titan Donald Trump would eventually represent America as its president in the recent past. Who's to say that a Winfrey-Trump presidential match-off won't also materialize?
According to Emily Stuart of Vox, Oprah was informed of the digital storm her perfectly delivered words caused upon walking backstage at the end of her speech. She was asked if she would, indeed, consider the presidency. She said she wouldn't. But her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, seems to have hinted at something different.
"It’s up to the people,” he tells the Los Angeles Times.
“She would absolutely do it.”
Photos from @icemanturner (thumbnail and cover photo)