Why not Oprah? Before 2016, the answers to that question were myriad: She has never held elected office and never campaigned, has never worked in government, has no experience in foreign affairs, has expressed no interest in being president, and has been primarily an entertainer throughout her professional life.
Before 2016, we all would have thought that Oprah Winfrey was woefully unqualified to be president of the United States.
But that year, something surprising happened, signaling a sea change in the nation’s perspective on what it takes to be POTUS: Donald Trump was elected.
Not only did he have most of the shortcomings listed above, he tweeted
too much, disparaged large groups of Americans with off-thecuff comments, displayed a stunning ignorance of national and world issues, changed his political positions constantly, lied, behaved petulantly and reacted immaturely to criticism and opposition. But Trump was elected anyway. So the question shouldn’t just be “Why not Oprah?” It should be “If Trump, why not Oprah?” Without a doubt, she has many of the presidential qualities that President Trump lacks. She’s wellspoken, learned, empathetic, thoughtful and inclusive. All of those traits shined through in her speech recently at the Golden Globes, triggering a grassroots Oprah-for-president movement.
While they are diametrically opposed in a host of ways, Oprah shares President Trump’s few admirable qualities: she’s tough,
engaging and has a good sense of humor.
Most importantly, like President Trump, she has charisma, name recognition and a large national following.
Those attributes have always meant a lot in presidential elections. But before 2016, voters have demanded that candidates have at least a modicum of experience in public affairs and politics.
Perhaps those days are long gone, swept away by the storm of Trump bluster and fury.
If that’s the case, we could do a lot worse than Oprah. We already have.