I love Oprah. Oprah loves Bread. I love bread. Oprah could be president!
There were so many buzz-worthy moments from Sunday’s 75th Golden Globes that we could be talking about right now. There were fashion highlights and tweet-able quotes galore, but as usual, nothing could top Mother Oprah.
From the moment she touched the stage it felt like people were already making “Oprah 2020” campaign signs (she’s Oprah, so she doesn’t need a running mate, and Gale will take care of all of those duties anyway). The hashtag #Oprah2020 was used by scores of celebrities and other fellow bread lovers. People immediately wanted Oprah to run for president.
And I think I was one of those people.
The way I see it, people (non-Trump supporters and other decent folks) are exhausted by what has happened to our country. We want a ray of hope, a promise of a better tomorrow, and a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Oprah was all of that, and more! The poetic cadence of her speech gave us sweet memories of President Obama and the pride that we felt for our country and the progress we were making. We watched, longing for the days when we had a leader who wanted to inspire and unite us, instead of deceive and divide us.
Still, are we all getting ahead of ourselves? Are we so traumatized by the attempted destruction of our democracy that we would literally say, “I see your wealthy TV personality and I’ll raise you an Oprah”?
Even the idea of an Oprah bid for President fractured my social media feed into dueling sides.
The Bernie or Bust folks called her “another Neoliberal Billionaire,” which is one of their favorite catchphrases when attacking anyone running for office who isn’t Bernie.
Feminists seemed very supportive.
Showbiz folks were split, but leaned supportive.
I even had a Republican friend privately admit that Oprah could easily win.
As a proud political and TV junkie who, again, loves bread, where did I fall on this scale? I wasn’t sure—and that shocked me.
When I was in grammar school, my teacher once taught me that if you were on the fence about making a decision, you should list the pros and cons. Could Oprah be President of the United States?
Let’s take a look a the pros and cons that I’ve seen coming across my social media feeds.
(+) Oprah is a wildly successful, self-made American who has run an empire that reached billions of people. She obviously has the capital, clout, and funding to launch a presidential bid.
She has an incredible ability to directly connect with people of all races, genders, cultural backgrounds, and financial statuses.
(+) Her initiative to help more people read became a global phenomenon and reignited an industry that was already thought of us a doomed enterprise. Also, she reads—unlike you know who.
(+) Her tireless efforts fighting for equality, human rights, women’s rights, children, and the poor, coupled with her “we are our own key to success and happiness” inspirational teachings have all produced exceptional and rewarding outcomes for many.
(+) Her network, OWN, is the biggest #1 network and content producer for people of color.
(+) Although she’s never claimed a political party as her own, she has given full-throttle support to Barack Obama and several other Democrats over the years.
(+) Oprah’s popularity among Americans is incredibly high, and the day after the Golden Globes the political betting markets on Election Betting Odds had her in the number 2 slot, beating out Mike Pence, Kamila Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and further down, Bernie Sanders. (Obviously, this is very fun to see but means absolutely nothing at this point.)
(-) We don’t need another TV star as President, we need an experienced politician.
(-) Oprah should stick to inspiring us as a spiritual teacher and as a vessel for us to buy her favorite things around the holidays.
(-) She’s never held a political office, nor do we know her reach of understanding foreign policy.
(-) She has a history of championing new-age crackpots like Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, and anti-vaccination Jenny McCarthy.
(-) There have always been rumors about her sexuality and her relationship with Gale. If those were true and suddenly exposed, it could possibly hurt the campaign.
(-) Would she divest from her multiple companies? We chastised Trump for the same topic and must hold Oprah to the same standard.
(-) She isn’t relatable because she is so wealthy.
I think that the election of Donald Trump has changed the rules, and no matter what, we (Democrats/non-Republicans) must win in 2020. We are in a dire state of emergency—sinking like the Titanic—and if Oprah Winfrey is the chunk of iceberg that we have to cling to as we push a frozen Leonardo DiCaprio into the ocean, then sign me up for an “Oprah for President” t-shirt, because I’ll never let go, Jack!
If Oprah Winfrey were to run for President, and that’s a big if, she could learn from the triumphs and mistakes of President Obama. She should mobilize grassroots support by using optimism, but not assume that you can work in a bi-partisan way with proven untrustworthy Republicans. She could do what she does best: bring a spotlight to the plight of voiceless everyday people who have been pushed down and forgotten—but also, offer them solutions.
She can surround herself with brilliant policymakers, political experts and a mix of fresh faces and trusted old guard to guide her against our toughest global enemies and most daunting challenges at home.
Oprah could win.
Trump won, and he can barely form a coherent sentence.
No matter who runs on the Democratic ticket it all comes down to people showing up to vote. We must spend the next year and a half donating our time to getting people registered to vote—especially people of color and the poor. Then we make sure that they know where to vote and that they have a way to get there. We must transform the party to include more people of color, women, LGBT Americans, and young people with progressive ideas.
We must show up in droves whether you agree 100% with whoever the candidate is or not. No more purity tests! You have to win before you can make change, and in 2020, we must win.
Side note: Are you registered to vote? Go to vote.gov to register and get more information.