PanAm Podcast: Will Oprah Winfrey Run for President?
Talk host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey has generated considerable buzz following a recent speech she gave at the Golden Globe awards, fueling speculation that she may be considering a run for the White House. Sources close to the Chicago-based TV star have confirmed that she is least considering such a run.
But does the American public really have the appetite to elect two television stars to the highest office in the land back to back? With Trump’s approval underwater, and Democratic hopes high heading into the 2018 midterm elections, Oprah would likely face an extremely crowded field in the 2020 primary, something akin to the GOP 2016 primary, when a record 17 candidates vied for the nomination.
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Leading in the polls is independent Bernie Sanders, a Senator from Vermont, who narrowly lost a contentious battle to Hillary Clinton in 2016. He is likely to be joined by former vice president Joe Biden, and Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Corey Booker.
Then, of course, there are several other candidates who could come completely out of left field: other candidates with no prior government experience, such as film star Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, rapper Kanye West, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
In the post-Trump era, all bets are off, and never again will political commentators scoff at the notion of an unconventional candidacy. Trump has upended American politics forever; perhaps to the point that Oprah could and would use her star power to emerge as an early front-runner.
She would start with some unmistakable advantages: instant universal name recognition, and a net worth estimated at USD $2.8 billion, which would allow her to entirely self-fund her campaign.
What remains to be seen is whether Oprah would seek to carve out a space more in the vein of the activist base headed by Sanders and Warren, or she would align herself with more mainstream, centrist Democrats, long en vogue at the DNC and DLC.
One thing is for certain: if she runs, she would be a formidable force, and could drive other candidates out of the race by sucking up their oxygen.