Maybe we should calm down about Oprah 2020?
On January 7th, 2018, the 75th annual Golden Globes had another award ceremony. Now, I’m still in the boat that all awards shows are fraudulent unless the things I like win, but I completely forgot about the Golden Globes. The last thing I remember from the Golden Globes is Jennifer Lawrence making a complete embarrassment of herself during a backstage interview, and that was two years ago. I also remember hearing a number of jokes about Sofia Vergara’s “golden globes” which was definitely not funny either the first nor fifty-eighth time I heard them. Yet, this year, a stunningly amazing speech from Oprah Winfrey rocked popular culture, and definitely got my head turned and listening. A speech that, perhaps, could be “presidential.”
As in, Oprah might run for President in 2020 against current President Donald Trump, who will likely go for re-election. So yeah, we are exactly twelve days into 2018 as I’m writing, and this year is already delivering the hottest surprises of the decade. Hoo boy.
To give a little context, Oprah was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Apparently. I didn’t even know it was a thing before Oprah’s speech, but you’ve got previous huge winners like George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Woody Allen, and Jodie Foster within the past decade. Honestly, just judging by the little blurb, Oprah probably should’ve won this award years ago for her outstanding contributions, but then again, what do I know. Regardless, Oprah won it this year, and delivered a speech that was simply breathtaking.
Oprah tackled the issues of sexual misconduct in Hollywood (timely, considering fellow winner James Franco received accusations very shortly following the event), race, gender, all the major topics of the modern age. This speech was expertly delivered, and definitely made her sound, well, Presidential. I’m not an expert in sounding Presidential, I’m a fraud with a keyboard who couldn’t form a coherent sentence in person without jumping to twelve other topics, but fortunately there are experts who can break down why it’s so Presidential. I’m just here to deliver my hot take on what I think about Oprah running for President being a possibility. Well, two equally hot takes from two different perspectives.
Yaaaaaaaasssssss Queeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen Slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
It’s clear a number of Americans aren’t interested in politicians running for President anymore. The idea is that politicians aren’t trustworthy, typically. A lot of them are allegedly bought out by corporations, or are old and crusty and probably suffering from too much dementia to make good decisions. People are tired of hearing the same tired lines coming from the politicians and then seeing nothing actually change. At least, in some parts of America. Other people believe political qualifications are actually important to be in a political office. A bold declaration, that one. Too sensible for my tastes.
Since President Donald Trump grabbed the nation by its genitals, there have been a number of celebrities talking about running for President themselves. You had Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson prominently talking about a Presidential run, and of course Kanye West talked about running in 2020 because that’s just what Kanye does. The public themselves have deemed certain people to be good Presidential candidates, but for the first time a candidate makes themselves a strong contender for the title. As a fan of competition and watching people slay, YES PLEASE RUN OPRAH!
Oprah is similar to President Donald Trump in the sense that they both are strong business people, have had a successful television show (or two), and have been in the popular consciousness for decades. If name recognition and a well-known TV personality are both important for a candidate in the new age, only Oprah would have the kind of clout President Donald Trump had during his run. Even Trump knew this, considering once when he talked about running for President he mentioned Oprah as a good candidate for Vice President. I’m not sure if a thumbs up from Trump is any longer a good thing in the eye of the media or a number of people, but it’s something. Oprah can bring people up and tear people down. I’d love to see Oprah and Trump duel in a political debate because I think, once the gloves come of, we could get some amazing (or amazingly awful) lines from both candidates. It may not be pretty for the state of the union, but it’ll be good entertainment. Two TV personalities battling verbally could make some good entertainment.
Maybe I’m promoting Oprah for all the wrong reasons there. In reality, that’s just on top of her personal accomplishments and the fact she’d be a symbol for the ideals of diversity and strength. She’s a strong speaker, and stands for people who need powerful people standing up for them. That’s commendable, and would make her a strong candidate in the eyes of the disenfranchised. She came from nothing and built herself up to where she is now. She’s a symbol of hope for people desperately searching for it. She’d be great, because she is great. And that’s just great.
A Logically Bad Business Decision
Now, I would say Oprah running is a great idea. However, I have to admit that I think, logically, that it’s a bad idea for her brand. Yeah yeah, the brand is less important than potentially helping the nation, but let me reason with you here. Running for President is not easy. It has never been easy. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will get torn down, picked apart, put back together, then burnt to a crisp. Every single part of your life, past and present, will be put under a microscope and analyzed by political pundits on both sides of the political spectrum. Even relatively small-time politicians can find their careers in ruins simply by running for a party nomination.
In an attempt to not sound like a fraud, here’s a legitimate historical example: My personal hero, former Indiana Governor Paul V. McNutt, ran for the nomination for the Democratic party in 1940. We all know that FDR took that nomination because, well, of course he would. However, Paul McNutt had all of his dirty laundry and potential problems aired, like just a tiny bit of financial fraud and other minor mistakes he made during his time as governor brought to the forefront of the conversation. He wouldn’t re-enter the political sphere in any sense after that, other than smaller government positions. And that was in the age of pen and paper. Now that everything's online, it’s even easier to dig up dirt to fling at your political opponent. Both candidates during the last election were nearly destroyed by the internet digging up as much as possible to destroy the candidate they opposed. It’s happened before. It’ll happen again.
This isn’t just bad for mental health, which it certainly is taxing for. From a business perspective, if you are already a multi-billionaire with a huge brand and public image, why would you run? You can only DESTROY your brand, your image, and definitely your family and their brands and images as well. If your business isn’t politics, you have no reason to try and make it your business unless you really just want another title under your belt. Everyone has dirty secrets, even Oprah, probably. Already, there are parts of the internet and other celebrities talking about how Oprah running would just start revealing things she’d rather keep hidden.
The British singer Seal has called her a part of the problem, referencing her relations to the human scum trash from the bottom of the smelliest dumpster in the Hollywood slums named Harvey Weinstein. A number of people were connected to Weinstein, and it’s not surprising someone as deep in the industry as Oprah would have worked with him. Weinstein’s, and in a way the entire industry’s, unspeakable atrocities were Hollywood’s worst kept secret for decades, and with some time crazy people on the internet will work to destroy Oprah’s entire image. And that doesn’t just bring down Oprah: that could bring down every sponsor she’s ever worked with. It’s not sensible to do something as dangerous to your career as running for President is. The only reason to risk it is if she feels only she can be able to save the country. Perhaps she can, perhaps she will, but the risk will always be there.
With it all considered....
Donald Trump won the election because he was a champion for a certain section of people within the nation. It may seem a little crazy, but Donald Trump, excessively rich business tycoon, represented people in middle-America who felt they hadn’t been represented during the previous Presidency. Oprah would represent those who aren’t represented under the Trump Presidency. Oprah would be the yin to Trump’s yang, if you will. Oprah would be the elemental counter to Trump, and would probably be a fantastic candidate to run against him. Would she win? Maybe, she has a better chance than any other celebrity being propped up. And, going back to her speech from the Golden Globes, she’s got the oratory chops to be a fantastic politician that isn’t actually a politician. She would either slay hard or bring her opponent down with her. Either way, it’d be amazing to see her run.
Then again, we’d have a talk-show host taking on a reality TV show host for the position of leader of the free world. I feel like that should be scarier than it actually is. Historians will look back on this era and just shake their heads. Assuming humans are even still around in the next 40 years, that is. Get excited, everyone!
Images: Twitter, Vox
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