Home / U.S. / Talking about Oprah running for president captivates the Democrats

Talking about Oprah running for president captivates the Democrats

From Hollywood to Iowa, a sudden wave of enthusiasm for Oprah Winfrey as a presidential candidate swept the Democratic Party on Monday, beginning as a social media sensation after her enthusiastic statements at the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday. night and climbing nationally as a party Officials and activists seriously considered the possibility.

Calls to Winfrey, a cultural icon and friend of former President Barack Obama, to look hard at the 2020 race against President Trump revealed a longing among many Democrats for a world celebrity of their own that could emerge as their standard bearer and its role.

The clamor also exposed how the overcrowded class of Democrats that reflects on offers so far lacks a candidate or someone who can easily unite the key coalitions of the party of women, minorities and working-class voters.

"Sir, we need passion and enthusiasm," said state representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a leading Democrat in South Carolina, one of the early voting states in the nomination race. "I know it's a conjecture right now, but I ask you to seriously consider it, if someone can join us, it's her."

Winfrey's inner circle did little Monday to quell the frenzy. His spokesman did not respond to a request for comment, but several people close to Winfrey said he was monitoring news coverage and thanked the response.

"She feels overwhelmed by the surge of support, the sheer avalanche of hashtags and phone calls about running for president," said Richard Sher, a friend and former broadcast partner who spoke with Winfrey by telephone on Monday.

Sher added: "If she were willing to do it, she would win, but right now it's other people, not her, what she's talking about, she's just assimilating it and happy that what she said she gave across the country "

Stedman Graham, Winfrey's partner who joined her at the Globe ceremony, where she received the Cecil B The DeMille Award for her career, sparked speculation on Sunday night when she told a journalist from the Los Angeles Times that "it's up to the people" and said that Winfrey would "absolutely do", although she did not specify what she would do. [19659002] There were no indications, however, that Winfrey did anything to formally prepare for a campaign in 2020 or talked to Democratic operatives. Instead, her Globe speech was widely seen by the Democrats as a visceral moment on the national stage that catapulted her into the discussion, whether she wanted to be part of it or eventually inches closer to running.

That opinion was felt not only among Democrats watching the Golden Globes and cheering on social media, but among Hollywood players who immediately clung to Winfrey's speech, placing Winfrey in the position of being courted by the Base Democrats and the winners of the Academy.

Winfrey, tracing her path from her roots in the Midwest to the pinnacle of American media, sparked ovations on Sunday for her message of hope in the midst of despair, generating praise from those who work to counter sexual misconduct and , in particular, of the democrats concerned about the Trump presidency. A speech without obvious political notes became a political war cry in an instant.

Winfrey spoke with a passionate voice of a "culture broken by brutally powerful men" and how "for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to tell their truth to the power of those men. His time is over, his time is over. "

Later, he added," I have interviewed and portrayed people who have resisted some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the only quality that everyone seems to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter tomorrow, even during our darkest nights. "

The 2020 calls came quickly and fervently.

"She threw a rocket tonight, I want her to run for president," actress Meryl Streep told The Post Sunday. "I do not think she had any intention [of declaring]but now she has no other choice."

In Iowa, whose caucuses are traditionally the first contest in the battle for the party's nomination and have a history of pushing unconventional candidates forward, conversations about Winfrey spread throughout the state. 19659002] "I can guarantee that the county chairs in Iowa would love to have a conversation with her," said Brad Anderson, who led Obama's re-election campaign in Iowa in 2012. "People may be looking for a stranger who can heal the country, and if that's the case, I have no doubt that Oprah would be powerful. "

Liz Purdy, who led the Democratic presidential campaign Hillary Clinton in 2008 in New Hampshire, said that as Winfrey "followed the New Hampshire road and left Main Street after Main Street," she could have a path to victory in the state. "If someone could do the retail policy well, it would be her."

While the murmur of the Oprah-draft hit some Democrats like a red carpet boomlet turned into Twitter that could quickly disappear, few veteran strategists were ready to ignore the talk about it among grassroots Democrats, especially after Trump, who is less popular than Winfrey in the polls, was able to mount a television-style insurgent campaign of reality and win the White House.

There were also questions about whether Winfrey, 63, a self-made billionaire whose innovative broadcast and media career has made her an admired figure around the world, would be willing to take the plunge and enter a presidential race that could polarize and force her to get entangled daily with a combative president.

"I have no doubt that it is filled with a desire to achieve the greatest possible impact in the world," said former Obama adviser David Axelrod, who heads the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics. "But if she wanted to submit herself and her brand to this process, it's a real question, running for president is relentless, implicating, sometimes degrading and often annoying."

Robert Shrum, who worked on Democratic presidential campaigns for decades and teaches at the University of Southern California, said "fascination of the media" more than any particular open in the field, was driving interest and did not necessarily mean that the Voters will rush to abandon current and former officials mentioned as 2020 aspirants, such as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.).

"There could be a backlash against Trump and people will look for experience," Shrum said. "I would have to show that I could formulate an economic message, put together a superior campaign organization."

In the past, Winfrey has said that experience in elective office should not be a prerequisite for a role on the national scene. [19659002] "I challenge you to see people trying to convince you that experience with politics as always is more valuable than the wisdom gained after years of service to people outside of Washington DC," he told a crowd in Cedar Rapids. , Iowa, in December 2007 while fighting for Obama.

Speaking to Bloomberg television last year, Winfrey said, when asked about her candidacy for president, that she "never considered the issue as a possibility," but Trump's election led her to reconsider.

"I thought: Oh, gee, I do not have the experience, I do not know enough," Winfrey said. "And now I'm thinking, & # 39; Oh & # 39;"

The 2020 aspiring crop, like Gillibrand, reacted warmly to Winfrey on Monday, seeing her not yet as a rival but as an ally in her effort to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault, a problem that has turned the industry upside down of entertainment and provoked resignations from Congress.

"His voice is powerful and important and whatever he wants to do, he should do it," Gillibrand said Monday in New York.

There have been many recruitment movements in previous electoral cycles that have failed, such as the great – publicized push in 1995 among Republicans by Colin Powell, the revered general who was gaining great popularity from his leadership during the Gulf War . Powell refused to run and President Bill Clinton won re-election.

And, of course, Trump, a wealthy real estate investor who later became a reality television entrepreneur on NBC's "The Apprentice," had been courted by some conservative voters going back to 1987, when he began flirt with a White House career.

Part of Trump's unconventional political past includes Winfrey. During a 1999 boost for the Reform Party nomination that never came true, Trump cited her as someone he would choose as his running mate.

Homeland minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Speaking to reporters on Monday at the Capitol, said Winfrey could be a force in presidential politics if surrounded by experienced advisors.

But he did not fully embrace the idea of ​​his candidacy.

"I think one of the arguments for Oprah is 45," he said, referring to the attraction of Trump's celebrities, as well as his lack of experience in elective office. "I think one of the arguments against Oprah is 45."

Republicans aligned with Trump mostly shrugged their shoulders at Winfrey. Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign advisor, scoffed at the idea of ​​Winfrey and other celebrities jumping in the 2020 race.

"This will be a busy Democratic primary: Oprah and George Clooney and Mark Cuban and Mark Zuckerberg and Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, "said Miller. "At some point, someone will have to remind the Democrats running for the presidency that Hollywood is not an early primary state."

But some critics of Trump on the right argued that Winfrey would immediately be a formidable candidate, and said she could support her above Trump.

"Oprah: firmer in economics than Bernie Sanders, understands better than Middletown America than Elizabeth Warren, less sensitive than Joe Biden," wrote conservative commentator William Kristol, adding "#ImWithHer". [19659002] Philip Rucker, Erica Werner and Steven Zeitchik contributed to this report.

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