Oprah for President In 2020?

Ken AshfordElection 2020Leave a Comment

The Golden Globes last night were the first major awards ceremony to be held since the sexual harassment accusations against Harvey Weinstein were revealed. You could almost draw a direct line from #MeToo and Time’s Up (the anti-harassment initiative sponsored by powerful Hollywood women) to many of the evening’s most memorable moments,

Without doubt, the most memorable moment came from Oprah Winfrey. Her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award brought the house down and then some, not just as the most rousing speech of the night (among many calls to arms) but also as the instantly iconic address of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements.

Few if any people blend the personal and political as well as Ms. Winfrey, and she wove together stories of her childhood, watching Sidney Poitier win an Oscar in 1964 while her mother, “bone-tired from cleaning other people’s houses,” watched. She traced her own career rise, and praised journalists for unearthing stories of corruption and abuse.

“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” Ms. Winfrey said, as she settled into a preacher’s rousing cadence. She recounted the story of Recy Taylor, a black woman who was raped in 1944 and whose white assailants were never charged. “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men,” Ms. Winfrey said. She paused, just for a moment. “But their time is up.” The audience broke into applause. “Their time is up!” The audience rose to its feet. “Their time is up!”

But that wasn’t the end of the speech. Ms. Winfrey closed by proclaiming that “a new day is on the horizon,” and envisioning “a time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too,’ again.” She delivered those lines over rapturous cheers and applause. Imagine if every awards ceremony had a speech like this.

The fallout? Oprah for 2020.

CNN today:

Oprah Winfrey is “actively thinking” about running for president, two of her close friends told CNN Monday.

The two friends, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely, talked in the wake of Winfrey’s extraordinary speech at the Golden Globes Sunday night, which spurred chatter about a 2020 run.

Some of Winfrey’s confidants have been privately urging her to run, the sources said.

One of the sources said these conversations date back several months. The person emphasized that Winfrey has not made up her mind about running.

A representative for Winfrey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Democratic race for president won’t officially begin until after the 2018 midterms, but many potential candidates are already jostling for position and making trips to Iowa.

“President Winfrey” was the talk of the entertainment world after Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes. And the “Oprah for president?” possibility was a top story on morning TV.

The touchstone of her speech was the #MeToo movement. But her hopeful message — “A new day is on the horizon” — could have doubled as a campaign rallying cry.

Many liberal-leaning celebrities and viewers certainly heard it that way. And that may have been exactly what Winfrey wanted.

As some political strategists have pointed out in the past year, her fame and wealth could make her a formidable Democratic Party candidate. But insiders have their doubts too: Would Americans really choose a TV star as president twice in a row?

For now, it’s all just talk.

Successful businesswoman and a journalist of sorts.  Smart.  These are definite pluses, but I don’t see it. Celebrity is not a qualification and my initial reaction is “no”. There is no question she would be better than Trump and she is even more qualified than people who get elected to Congress by being, you know, dentists or whatever.  But businesswoman, actress, publishing magnate, etc does not mean she will have insight into, say, China policy.

Oprah for Veep.  I might be able to get behind that.