January 8, 2018

Top 5 problems with "Oprah Winfrey for president"

Oprah Winfrey is no Hillary Clinton - she's personable (at least she seems to be), her personal favorability ratings would be much higher than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Like president Trump she's run a business successfully. She's got Trump-level name recognition which is a huge political asset. Unlike Hillary Clinton she connects with women. Unlike Hillary Clinton she connects with African Americans (at least females), and unlike Hillary Clinton she's relatively wholesome and unsullied by years of scandal. Unlike Hillary Clinton she'd have the full force backing of former president Obama.   She's liberal, having refused to allow equal access to Sarah Palin to her audience after having allowed Obama unfettered access.  Now, Hollywood and others seems to have anointed her as the one to unseat president Trump in 2020.


[UPDATE: NBC has since removed the tweet, blaming it on a 3rd party. Right. Here's the tweet captured below by The Daily Caller]

Are we doomed to a return to socialist policies because a one term president Trump will be unceremoniously and soundly defeated by Oprah Winfrey?  Not so fast. There are a lot of problems with Oprah Winfrey as a presidential candidate.  Here are the Top 5.

5 She's just a happy version of president Trump.

The Democrats have hammered the voters with the message that president Trump was an unqualified candidate and is an unfit president.  The unfitness included the fact that he was an outsider who had no government experience.  While voters on the right saw that fact as a positive because they recognize that government is if not broken, functioning poorly.  Many liberal voters have been pre-conditioned for the past two plus years to expect failure from outsiders.  Oprah Winfrey is as much an outsider as president Trump was.  So are Democrat voters now expected to pivot hard to the idea that outsiders are no longer ineffectual idiots but visionary masterminds ready to solve all of our problems?  That's not just a simple pivot and it will take a lot of work that may, as a side effect let president Trump off the hook to some degree. The outcome for Oprah even if successful, would be that she's a happy, smart version of president Trump. I'm not sure that plays well with the base left.

4. She is actually part of the establishment.

The establishment is not just Washington D.C. and party insiders - it includes the media and most certainly Hollywood. Oprah Winfrey is well connected politically, and clearly politically she has an established set of ideas that well, align with former president Obama's ideas.   That's establishment. Ringing Hollywood endorsements after the Golden Globe Awards speech she made, further indicates she's an insider.  I doubt anyone seriously thinks she couldn't get Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Holder, Hillary or Bill Clinton on the phone as easily as if she were ordering Domino's pizza. The same is true for Meryl Streep or Wolf Blitzer.

Being part of the establishment is in many eyes considered being part of the problem not part of the solution.  Painting Oprah as an insider would not be a hard job for team Trump. That will rev up the base on the right and also annoy a significant portion of voters on the left, namely...

3. Bernie Sanders voters won't just warm up to her

The left split among progressives and establishment liberals wasn't entirely exploited by president Trump's election team, perhaps deliberately. Bernie Sanders was clearly cheated during the Democratic primaries and his followers have probably not forgotten that.  Proclamations that the process and Super Delegate issue have all been fixed (so far they haven't) alongside an anointing of Oprah as the savior of the party and of America at large isn't going to be uncontested. Furthering the split, millennials are not as up to speed on who Oprah is as are their Gen X and older counterparts.

The split of the base into camps on the left is as real as it is on the right. Except the left has a more problematic situation because of Hillary's cheating.  The establishment has been tarnished and is viewed suspiciously.  Millennials are already less inclined to vote and the coronation of another candidate might not just turn them off in 2020, it could have the potential to be a generational shift.

2. Does Oprah really need the hassle?

Oprah Winfrey is almost 64 years old.  On election day she would be 66.  That's younger than president Trump. But Oprah Winfrey is worth nearly $3 billion. Her image is pretty good.  What benefit does it do her to slog through a brutal campaign season - primary plus general election, getting muck thrown at her, and possibly financing her campaign with her own money, but having to schmooze for more, and do appearances all over the country at a hectic pace?  It takes a particular constitution to be able to do that and a particular drive to want to do that.  It's not clear (yet) that she has either of those qualities, and if she doesn't have the desire in particular, she won't run.


1.  The Trump record versus the Obama record.

If the economy performs in president Trump's first term as expected, the contrast with the Obama record will be truly stark. Who will march to the polls determined to re-institute policies that clearly hobbled the prosperity and well-being of Americans? 

Of course that last item has yet to be proven (consistently, despite the strong start).  And  Oprah Winfrey would be a formidable candidate.  She has the basic appeal necessary from a Democratic optics perspective - gender, heritage, photogenic, etc. But she is every bit as beatable as was Hillary Clinton and arguably also former president Obama.

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