Celebrity presidents cannot be made the norm

Photo by Casey Gomez

That the talk show host and multi-billionaire Oprah Winfrey is seriously being encouraged by a non-negligible portion of the American public to run for president in 2020 is sincerely and utterly disappointing.

It demonstrates more than any other single incident that the “liberal” segment of the population has learned the precisely incorrect lesson from former reality TV star Donald Trump’s election to the office of president.

Trump, a popular demagogue in the truest sense, won in no small part because of Hillary Clinton’s predetermined and historic unpopularity. Her constant and unwavering embrace with the established political and corporate powers that be in the United States was a major turn off to many voters, a fact that was proven beyond any measure of reasonable doubt on election night.

Instead of accepting this fact and taking notes so as to perhaps support a better candidate in the next election, those who support Oprah are either wittingly or not adopting the strategy that proved successful for Trump. By throwing their hat in with a public figure whose primary appeal thus far is a speech on a social issue, they are walking down the exact same road so many Trump supporters did in 2015, only this time on the other side of the political aisle.

I liked Oprah’s speech. I agree with the sentiments. But I am not a single-issue voter. And one speech does not a president make, regardless of how many of Hollywood’s elite applaud it.

Unfortunately, despite how insightful and forward-thinking and progressive and #presidential her position on gender inequality may be, there are many other significant issues in play when a leader of the country is to be selected.

To those who are already fervently in the Oprah tank: what will she do to combat the severe economic inequality quickly growing in this country? Why anyone would think that a multi-billionaire would have tenable perspective on issues like this is beyond me.

But, of course, I doubt that many of the new Oprah acolytes have thought about that. No, they have latched on to her potential campaign because — besides her speech at the Golden Globes — she is a big star and has huge name recognition.

Were these not the same factors that enabled Trump to quickly gather such a widespread following? And if anything, Oprah’s ability to galvanize a base may even be greater with the unique asset of possessing her
own network.

This is just all so perfectly disappointing because I really would like to believe that lessons can be taken from mistakes.

The election of Trump was a mistake, but it was one that we could all collectively learn from. It should be clear by now to anyone examining political activity in this country without a predestined outlook that the decisions being made are ones that will primarily benefit those at the top in terms of wealth and power. Remember now that Trump ran essentially as a populist.

So, here comes another wealthy and influential well-known celebrity, taking a strong stance on a social issue. Saying she is “intrigued” at the prospect of a 2020 presidential run. And people encourage her? I know there is a plain nasty level of partisanship, but we cannot afford to be so short-sighted.

I am sure that many of the same people who see with such clarity the awfulness of Trump are now rendered blind because one with potential to be a “liberal” demagogue has stepped forward.

Simply take a measured look at exactly how much poor, rural white Trump supporters are benefiting from his election, and remember the sage words of Bush II: “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me… You can’t get fooled again!”