It’s been four days since Oprah announced her political bid for President 2020. Have we all settled into the allure? Joke or not, it’s a captivating fantasy to acknowledge the potential utopia that could lay await.
Gayle King, the best friend to the celebrated cultural icon, has gone onto the record to dismiss the idea. Our current President (and I use that word loosely) Donald Trump was asked what he thought of the prospect of a Winfrey presidential bid.
“I’ll beat Oprah.” Oprah would be a lot of fun. I know her very well,” he told reporters on Tuesday. He went on to note that he and his family were on one of the final episodes of her syndicated talk show. “I like Oprah. I don’t think she’s going to run,” he arrogantly added.
On The Oprah Winfrey Show, she served as an empath, challenger, and guardian of the varied anxieties of the middle-class cause. Along the way, she rewrote the romance of the American striver in the image of her impossible ascent. The mass of motivational literature that she produced encouraged us to remember her as a little Black girl in Milwaukee, born amid a nation’s racial upheaval. With Oprah, every new consolidation of power — her talk show, her production company, her book club and her magazine —bore her name. The name alone signifies the virtues of ownership and accumulation. It is, in a word, personifies inspirational.
Ok let’s be real… this girl is not foolish enough to abandon her dogs, her garden of eden and her billions of dollars just to tackle the uphill battle that is White America.
But we can dream, right?
Flashback to the Golden Globes where Oprah delivered! So many of our wigs are still on the floor. The recipient of the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in entertainment stood in opposition to moral fracturing of two massive institutions: post-Weinstein Hollywood and post-Trump government.
I mean damn, even in 2005, The Boondocks predicted it. A newspaper is plopped on the ground, bearing the headline “Oprah 2020”; and here we are, this week hashtagging Oprah2020. The fantasy has a high-quality of swoon (imagine the White House garden!).
Ok I’ll admit, it is Oprah’s popularity that has sparked the discussion rather than her recent actions. But there is more evidence on which to weigh these speculations than there is with our current President: like, Oprah has functioned as a cultural politician for more than a generation. She sponsored the passage of a bill against childhood abuse, back in 1991. The passion she has inspired in White women, who the Democrats must flip to succeed, is legendary; and in 2006, her godmotherly endorsement for Barack over Hillary helped to swing the Democratic primaries in Obama’s favor.
What I’m getting at is, Oprah is no stranger to the political Hunger Games gauntlet in this juxtaposing realm of culture. Let us not forget that the Donald is not our first “celebrity” president — cc: crack ‘80s Ronald Regan. A big part of the work towards leveling the Democratic challenge against Trump will be rescuing it. And that’s what Oprah symbolizes: the “anti-Trump”.
More than anything, #Oprah2020 strikes me as a community thought experiment, a buzzing knot of desperation, fanaticism and — weirdly — logic. We might as well look to the heart of these fantasies for instruction.