Is Oprah Winfrey “actively thinking” of running for president?
Is Oprah Winfrey “actively thinking” of running for president? If a person who apparently spends fifty percent of his day watching Television shows and proclaiming his own genius can does it, why can’t any billionaire take the White House?
Here’s the bitter truth: Fighting Trump to his political death would destroy Oprah’s image and her brand, and in the end it wouldn’t be worth it. Which is why she may not make the jump to politics, at least not in 2020. She’s too smart.
Sure, she gets into goofy mumbo jumbo like a lot of rich celebrities-remember the Open Heart Journaling Sessions? – but essentially she’s a sincere person. Her rise is an awe-inspiring rags-to-riches tale, the stuff of incredible movies that get nominated for an Oscar: born in poverty in Mississippi, raised by a single mom in Milwaukee, self-made-millionaire by age 32. More to the point, she could win the nomination of the Democratic Party and could even defeat Trump in a general election, assuming he makes it that far. But even if she could pull it off, this won’t end up being the kind of high-minded, issues- driven election she’d want to win. It’s gonna be a road brawl. Does Oprah actually want to go through all that?
In a way, she confronts the same decision as the one facing former Vice President Biden. At this time, both are beloved citizens- most likely with favorable ratings in the 60s or perhaps 70s. That’s a hard accomplishment in these polarized times, and it should not be put aside lightly. Oprah is already a powerful figure. Persuasive. Though obviously a liberal, she’s seen as above petty politics. Republicans, Democrats and independents all have affection for her. She lives a comfortable life and can command attention on any issue, whenever she wants.
The first thing even the most incompetent Republican campaign team will encourage, and what the media is going to insist on, is that Oprah take positions on issues sure to alienate half of the nation. Take the biggest of them all: abortion. We can assume Oprah favors abortion rights, but the details matter: Does that include support for partial birth abortion? Will she support aborting children with Down’s syndrome? Oprah may have a very moving answer to these queries, but a great deal of people will certainly tune her out in an instant. She’s not used to that. She’s not going to like being called a baby killer.
As a person whose name and image are synonymous with sincerity and openness, and indeed have been built on those characteristics, Oprah doesn’t have the luxury to just wish away inconvenient questions like Trump does. Or to lie with impunity rather than face the consequences.
Oprah Inc. will come under unprecedented scrutiny. She’s not going to like that.