I don’t give a shit how wonderful President Oprah would or would not be. If America nominates two television stars with no political experience in a row for election to the highest political office in America, it is time to look at citizenship requirements in other countries.
No, stop, I don’t care. I don’t care whether Oprah herself would be a fabulous president. I know she has a magazine that gets released every month that has her face on it and that’s enough. Maybe that magazine is full of solutions to the North Korean nuclear crisis, maybe it contains tax policy proposals between affirmations and recipes, I don’t know, I’ve never opened an Oprah magazine, I know that it exists and that she is a celebrity and that is enough. For that reason, I’m opposed to Oprah 2020, and I’m opposed even if it turns out she is the greatest political genius of our generation.
If Oprah is serious about politics, I’m sure she could easily win state office. Hell, I’ll give her the Reagan/Schwarzenegger pass: let her run for governor of some large state, let’s see if she even likes politics. Let’s see if she’s good at playing the political game, dealing with all the difficult personalities and pressure groups and lobbyists and etc. I’m working my way through the Fire and Fury right now, and if even half of that book is true, the major lesson is that political experience matters. So let her gain some experience before we throw her into the deep end of the American political pool, yes, even if she says she wants to be thrown in.
And she does want to be thrown in. Oprah gave her Golden Globes speech 2 days ago, and here are just a few articles I can find with a simple google search from different news organizations that are talking about her presidential nomination. Some of them came out minutes after the conclusion of that speech. Oprah knows a lot of people in the media business; if you can’t see the obvious coordination behind these very similar stories, if you think that all these authors spontaneously and separately thought “Golden globes speech = president, I should write a story about this for tomorrow’s edition of my news outlet” at the exact same time, I’m not sure you should be voting for anything.
Let’s go best case scenario. Let’s say Oprah turns out to be a once-in-a-generation political wizard. Let’s say that her many years of dealing with personalities on daytime TV, her ability to navigate Hollywood politics, serve her super well in the Oval Office. In this best case scenario we have eight good years and also a precedent by which “qualified for presidential office” now means “media personality.” By this metric, Kim Kardashian is more qualified for presidential office than _____, where that blank is filled with an elected official you like. Joe Biden. Justin Amash. Bernie Sanders. I don’t give a fuck who you put in the blank, just hear me, hear me on this, even if Oprah is the greatest thing since Lincoln the precedent it sets is the worst thing since Jackson. The juice is not worth the fucking squeeze.
Presidents since FDR have disagreed on everything except for that the President ought to have more power. Executive power has been on the rise for 80 years, we’ve made this bed for 80 goddamn years, we need to be very careful about who we let into that bed. Exhibit A: the last 354 days. Exhibit B: the next 1,107. To talk about whether Oprah would be better than Trump is to miss the goddamn point entirely. Most people would be better than Trump. Everyone who has been going on about about how this cannot become the new normal, this is your time to shine. This cannot become the new normal. If this country is to survive Trump must be an abberition, not a low-water mark. A footnote, not a sea change.
Listen to me goddamn it, this is serious. American can survive one fuckup. If we get President Oprah 2020, we’re on the road to establishing precedent. If, in an age of tabloid culture and reality TV, in which celebrity is already the new royalty in so many ways, we hold a goddamn coronation, this democratic republic is done.