Monday, January 08, 2018


Either this is really going to happen or we're being primed to believe it will until A Wrinkle of Time sells $150 million worth of tickets in its first weekend, after which we'll never hear about it again:
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.
Will I vote for her if she's the Democratic nominee? Sure. Will I vote for her in the primary? No. An Oprah run validates Donald Trump's political career -- hey, Trump was right, you don't need any experience and you don't need deep knowledge of domestic and foreign-policy issues. I'll change my mind if, come 2019, Oprah can address the issues in a way that transcends bumper-sticker slogans and platitudes. I'd say the same thing about Tom Steyer or Mark Cuban or Howard Schultz, by the way -- if you've spent your life outside the political process, I want you to show me, well before the Iowa caucuses, that you've done your homework, that you understand how all the moving parts of Obamacare interact, what all the combatants in Syria want, and so on. The last two Democratic presidents were young and new to national politics, but they knew their stuff. I'd want to see the same thing from Oprah -- I don't want her learning from Trump that it doesn't matter what you know as long as you're great television.

Apart from that, my biggest problem with Oprah is her fondness for promoting quacks and charlatans -- the author of The Secret, for instance, or Dr. Oz. I don't like the thought of Oprah overseeing U.S. health policy. On the other hand, Trump and other Republicans believe in fraud and quackery on a wide range of issues, so she'd still be better than the alternative.

I think the 2020 Trump campaign would be shameless in running against Oprah. If she's the Democratic nominee, I think Trump's team will portray him as a seasoned, deeply knowledgeable political veteran, while condemning her as a neophyte out of her depth. The ads will be along the lines of: He has faced the toughest challenges. He has stared down America's most fearsome foes. He has stood in the arena. Will it work? Trump has shown us that you can fool some people all of the time, so don't bet against it.

I want to believe this:

But this is America -- only once in the past 45 years have we elected a non-incumbent president who was a seasoned political veteran (Bush the Elder in 1988). So inexperience probably won't be a liability if she runs.

I suspect she won't run. Celebrities at her level exercise a considerable amount of control over what the public gets to know about them, and you can't maintain that control if you're in politics. Trump didn't care about this -- he just likes seeing his name in the papers, and he enjoys fighting with people who write negative stories about him. Oprah doesn't seem to be like that. So I expect her to decide against a run.

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