Look at that- only eight days in 2018 and we have rumblings of the 2020 presidential election. That must be a record!
Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes yesterday has the entire country speculating about her running for president in two years. Apparently the media mogul is seriously thinking about it. There are plenty of people who love the idea, and the NBC network had to delete a tweet calling her “our future president.”
Just when you thought American politics could not get any crazier, the system deliberately ratchets up the insanity meter to a 12. Political commentator Bill O’Reilly had some interesting thoughts on the development, arguing that a Winfrey candidacy would be a way for the Obamas to reshape American policy after the Trump presidency dismantled many of their accomplishments.
Nevertheless, I believe that the furor over the speech and a potential Oprah presidency indicates two realities about American politics. First, the infatuation with celebrities continues to grow. Perhaps because of the political class’s failures, individuals like Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Kid Rock and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can float the idea of running for office and be met with enthusiasm. Experience matters less and less, and being a true outsider can rocket even the mostly unlikely of people to the highest office in the land.
In the past, former celebrities such as Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger won high political office- as we all know, Mr. Schwarzenegger was the Governor of California and Mr. Reagan was both the governor of that state and a two term president. There are others in the House and Senate, as well.
However, as Mr. Reagan’s career illustrates, even these outsiders had to prove themselves before considering the top job. Mr. Reagan served eight years as governor, campaigned extensively for other politicians and only got the Republican nomination after several tries. Now, it seems like a celebrity hopeful such as Mr. Trump or Ms. Winfrey can go straight to the presidency. Being a celebrity name recognition, often without the negative labels of traditional politicians.
Secondly, the obsession over Oprah demonstrates the unhealthy relationship we have with the presidency. From reading some of articles, I was under the impression that our entire government is composed of one person who can single-handedly reshape the political landscape and do whatever he or she wants.
I have strong feelings about this, and I can unequivocally say this fascination is quite negative to our republic. There are so many political offices and organizations who are essential to the function of our cities, states and nation. Nitpicking over what the presidency is much less productive than calling city hall or analyzing how your taxes are spent.
Furthermore, WE JUST FINISHED AN ELECTION ONLY 14 MONTHS AGO!!!! I don’t know about you, but I was so sick and tired of the campaign by mid-September. Can’t the blessed office of highest douchebag in the land leave us alone until, I don’t know, 2020?! I am a political junkie and even I know we get way too much of this presidency nonsense. Take a break people! That felt better.
Rant over…for now.
Oprah’s potential candidacy has opened a can of worms that some, such as Mr. O’Reilly, find deeply intriguing. As thought provoking as it may be, the level of interest shows two problems with American culture: the love of celebrity and the mania over the presidency. We need a rehaul of the American political system- does Oprah have that under our seats?
“You get reform! And you get reform! Some reform for everybody!”
Originally published at theprimacyofpolitics.blogspot.com on January 8, 2018.