Oprah 2020. That's been the theme of the internet pretty much since the moment Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globes speech ended, and it's led to a lot of speculating on the matter. Let's skip all of that for a moment and assume that she does run — and she wins. What would the
pros and cons of having Oprah as the president be?
In real life, of course, it's too early to have a conversation like this. Oprah's said herself that
she would never run for public office, president or anything else. But now that she's the talk of the town, different reports keep emerging about how things may have changed. Two anonymous friends of Oprah's told CNN that she was considering a run, her best friend Gayle King said that Oprah was "intrigued" by the idea, and her partner Stedman Graham gave her fans hope when he said that "it's up to the people" but that "she would absolutely do it."
Equivocation and rumors have launched presidencies before, though, so it's certainly not out of the question that Oprah could run — and it's also not out of the question that she could win. If both of those things came true, here's some of what could be facing the country with Oprah at its helm.
Pro #1: She Could Actually Beat Trump
Trump is the least popular president in modern history, and Oprah moving into the White House would mean that Trump would have to move out. The people who disapprove of him would be happy to see that, and for that to happen, he needs to lose to someone.
Oprah, like Trump, is also a celebrity, who enters the race with all of the fame and name-recognition as he did on that fateful day back in 2015. The difference is that Oprah
wouldn't bring the divisive message that Trump did. This could make her a formidable competitor — and even likely victor — in 2020.
Con #1: She Has No Relevant Experience
Because she's a celebrity and media personality, though, Oprah would enter the presidency with the same problem as Trump did: She has no experience in government at any level. The chaotic beginning to Trump's presidency is
an indication to many people that next, America needs someone who can steady the ship.
Pro #2: She's A Uniter, Not A Divider
Con #2: We Don't Know Where She Stands On The Issues
Oprah has voted for Republicans and Democrats in the past, and no one knows where exactly she stands on the issues. With experienced politicians, you can look back and see their voting records to see which ways they might go; with Oprah, you'd have to make educated guesses off of her history. This could mightily pay off or mightily disappoint for the people who elect her.
Pro #3: She Did Run A Successful Business Empire
Con #3: There Could Be Secrets
After years in the public eye and in front of a camera, the opposition research would continue on Oprah well after she was elected. Her background, and all of those hours of tape, would be subject to a totally new level of scrutiny — and you never know where a huge scandal could be hiding.
Pro #4: She Would Represent A Different Face Of America
In terms of identity politics, Oprah represents everything that Trump is not. She's experienced poverty. She's a woman. She's black. In many ways, her presidency would look like a changing of the guards.
Con #4: It Might Not Help America's Perception On The World Stage
In many countries, the presidency is a largely ceremonial role, held by a much beloved politician or cultural figure who doesn't really have much executive power.
The U.S. is not one of those countries. The president is the person who the rest of the world's leaders interact with, and after four years of having the Trump family flying around the world to meet with various foreign emissaries, it would probably be better for America's image if those people could switch back to meeting with a president who is more of a peer and counterpart.
Pro #5: She's Proved Her Dedication To Making People's Lives Better
Con #5: She Doesn't Have A Great Record With Science
Oprah hasn't exactly been shy about promoting people whose
claims go directly against science and medicine, like Dr. Oz, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Phil, and Jenny McCarthy. Trump has already given the country an extremely anti-scientific presidency so far, the world doesn't need any more people who have ever been OK with an anti-vaccine sentiment in public office.
Pro #6: The Glass Ceiling Would Be Broken
Con #6: But At What Cost?
If Oprah won, then we'd finally have a female president. But she would have won based on her fame, not on her years of experience as a public service or her hard work in politics.
If Oprah won, she would take the position of "first female president" away from women like Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, who could run for president on the strength of their qualifications and their history of fighting for progressive causes, rather than on the blunt force of their fame.
There would be a lot to consider, if Oprah did decide to run for president. Thankfully, there's plenty of time before you have to cast your vote in 2020.