Editorial: Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech not grounds for presidency



Oprah Winfrey stands backstage at the 75th Annual Golden Globes on Sunday. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

A touching personal narrative and optimistic view of the future, both surging with classic American ideals — this was the blueprint of Oprah Winfrey’s much-applauded speech at the Golden Globes Sunday night. And according to Matt Bennett of USA Today, these are also the elements of presidential speech.

Despite Winfrey’s repeated statements denying her interest in running for any public office, her name quickly spread on social media following the Golden Globes as a Democratic nominee with the potential to unite the party, which seems to currently lack a front-runner.

But the ability to tell a personal, relatable anecdote should not be grounds for a presidential nomination. If that were the case, there’d be hundreds of qualified people for the job.

Winfrey, of course, has more credibility than just her storytelling abilities and empathy — she’s personally lived the rags-to-riches American aspirations and has extensive experience in journalism, philanthropy and television media.

But these experiences only scrape the surface of the kind of skills needed to be president of the United States. Winfrey has the name and face appeal, but the American public knows the reality of having a celebrity president who lacks political experience, and it’s unlikely they’d want to choose another one in 2020.

Winfrey isn’t the only big name being tossed around for the presidency, either. Other celebrities like Kanye West and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have come out — although possibly as a joke — as considering a campaign for the presidency.

Although it’s clearly possible that a celebrity without much political experience can win a presidential election, stacking the ballot with big names — even if they’re only speculating a run — almost shifts the atmosphere of the pinnacle of our country’s political climate into that of another awards show. And this will be one where wearing black won’t push bills and real change.

Instead of fixating with starstruck eyes on 2020, citizens would do well to focus on political issues closer on the horizon, like the midterm elections slated for this November.

The entire House of Representatives, one third of the Senate and numerous other legislative seats will be on the ballot, and the results could dramatically change the political climate before the 2020 presidential election even approaches.

In the midst of a presidency leaving some citizens wishing they could press a reset button on their ballot, it’s tempting to focus on the possibility of a new era in 2020, no matter how far or near on the horizon it may be. But catapulting any celebrity who makes a resonating speech into the presidential arena is not the answer. Instead, focus your energy on the nearer midterm elections and let Winfrey give her poignant, excellent speech as just that — a speech.

Leave a comment.