After celebrity President Trump, could Oprah be next?
It is rare for someone unpolished, like an actor or television personality, to get elected into the highest office in the United States. Two notable examples of partisan shifting administrations are President Donald Trump and former President Ronald Reagan; an “outside” candidate is always a possibility.
In a direct response to the 2016 election’s outcome, the mogul queen of media and black billionaire Oprah Winfrey may be considering a run for president.
When the news first broke, I had the same reaction as I did when I heard about Trump’s campaign — I didn’t believe it. Then, I started to think: If Trump could win, then so can Oprah. She, too, is a billionaire; she’s a philanthropist, especially in South Africa; and people don’t actively hate her.
However, there are still many things that could stop her from succeeding. The two big ones are petty, but viable reasons for people not to vote for her. Oprah is both black and a woman. It shouldn’t be a factor, but being a woman is the same reason why some didn’t vote for Clinton. Likewise, some refused to vote for Barack Obama because he is black. That being said, it works both ways. Some might go to the polls and vote for her for those same reasons.
For the rest of the voting population, Oprah has issues that she would need to address. For one, she has not made a public stance on many issues. Some of her main platforms ones can only be inferred from her actions. Oprah has performed charity work domestically, particularly in Chicago, and abroad; Oprah’s friendship with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres infers that she’s pro-LGBTQ+ rights; and judging from a luncheon Oprah attended to, it seems that she’s pro choice. But even these are up in the air.
As president, you must be well-versed and have a clear stance on each topic that may come your way. Oprah would have to acknowledge topics like foreign affairs, economics, energy, poverty and trade deals — things that the more politically interested voter will be looking for.
In an interview on The David Rubenstein Show, Oprah said that she thought, “Oh gee, I don’t have the experience.” Even though she’s speaking her true thoughts, when even teasing a run for president, candidates need to be aware that people record everything they say. They need to appear confident because the voters they try to attract are independents, those still on the fence. Even people in that candidate’s preferred political party often would rather choose a more classically trained politician.
If Winfrey is seriously considering running, she needs to get her strategies and crash course in politics together starting now. Oprah: Do not wait until campaign season. Start voicing your opinion on legislation, and let it be known where you want to see the country go. Understand that you are Oprah Winfrey, and that when you speak, people listen.
Opinion columnist Dana Jones is a print journalism junior and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org