January 24, 2019

Pelosi isn't sure Oprah's celebrity is the best thing for 2020

12 January 2018, 08:51 | Regina Holmes

ITVSean Spicer on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain

ITVSean Spicer on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain

Oprah Winfrey's best friend, Gayle King, is downplaying any suggestion that Winfrey might run for president.

Winfrey, who along with most of the show's other women attendees wore a black gown to show support for victims of sexual misconduct, was the first black woman to receive the annual Cecil B. DeMille award, joining the likes of Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand and Sophia Loren.

Just how moved was the crowd inside the Beverly Hilton?

Oprah Winfrey, like the majority of natural-born American citizens over the age of 35, could decide to run for president in 2020.

"I want to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue", she said. "But now she doesn't have a choice". And her longtime partner Stedman Graham suggested on Sunday she might be up for it.

It's a free country, and Oprah can run if she wants. "One of the sources said these conversations date back several months". Though they emphasise that Winfrey has far from made up her mind.

Donald Trump's former Press Secretary said Oprah doesn't have the "political infrastructure" to win a presidential campaign.

Some operatives think she has what it takes to be a viable presidential candidate.

Winfrey fueled speculation that she could look to mount a campaign in a rousing, almost 10-minute speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday.

"She commands attention and is a great speaker", said Paul Peitzmeier. When she looks into a camera, it's like she is peering into your soul.

"I am going to turn this thing around and I will be better for it", she said of those early days with her new venture. Fire and Fury confirms what most of us already assumed, that Trump is, like, completely unfit for the job. I have been occasionally guilty of mocking Oprah and her show.

She would have to overcome the doubts of Americans who may be more jaundiced about celebrity presidents after the Trump experience. 44% of Republicans would vote for Oprah, 66% for Trump.

Unfortunately, in politics, unilateral instincts can be a liability.

Reese Witherspoon alluded to her friend's superstar status while introducing her at the Globes: "There's only one person whose name is a verb, an adjective, and a feeling". But Obama did not jump from that stage in Boston to the Oval Office. She'd need to travel extensively (both domestically and internationally), hold sit-down briefing sessions with top foreign policy and national security figures (as George W. Bush did before his run), identify with some precision her policy goals and figure out how to present all that to the public in advance of a run.

You might have thought you'd seen it all in the world of U.S. politics, but the age of the celebrity candidate certainly seems far from over.

When serving a country as polarized as the United States, any decision now stands to alienate about 50 per cent of voters.

On TV, her appeal was based on message.

Would Winfrey be more open to sharing those personal details? But her sphere of influence is stronger on the periphery, where she can inspire from a perch not contaminated by the headaches of realpolitik.

Advocating for the importance of diverse female representation in the media, Winfrey reflected on the range of revelations about harassment in Hollywood, telling young women watching "a new day is on the horizon".

We can only hope this has nothing to do with her political ambitions.

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