Follow @MarkBrownCSTIf the two names on the top of the ballot last November had been Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey, there’s not much doubt in my mind I would have voted for Oprah.
And I’m not even one of her fans.
So if Trump’s election is truly causing her to reconsider her previous stated opinion that she would never run for president, as she intimated but never quite stated in an interview made public Wednesday, then why not.
If Trump can be president of the United States, surely so can Oprah.
Heck, after four years of Trump in the White House, she might even be the perfect antidote.
Follow @MarkBrownCSTAt her inauguration, she can have us all hold hands, have a good cry, and then start a new diet together. I’m ready now, especially for the diet.
This is the new reality of American politics, where any successful person with the ability to sell themselves to the public can get elected, even to the highest office in the land. Government experience, once considered a prerequisite, is now an impediment, so hungry are American voters for something different.
And I’m not sure any person has ever done a better job of selling themselves to the public than Oprah Winfrey, who perfected the art of self-branding long before Trump got his first television show.
As much as Trump wants to pretend he is a self-made man, despite being the son of a wealthy New York real estate developer, Oprah truly rose from poverty to become one of the richest women in the world.
I suppose Trump could try to dismiss her as an entertainer while touting himself as a builder, but we all know it was his own entertainment career that made possible his candidacy, while it was her nose for business that made her more than just another successful talk-show host.
And unlike Trump, her charitable endeavors are real.
Trump knows how formidable she could be. He told several interviewers last year that he would “love” to have Oprah as his vice presidential running mate and that they would “win easily.” And we all know Trump never says anything he doesn’t believe.
Oprah would not be my first choice, because I do value government experience in a candidate, but at this point, I don’t have a first choice for 2020. So again, why not?
How can I say I’d vote for her before she’s even talked about what she might want to do as president?
Because I guess I know just enough about Oprah’s values from watching her career, although rarely her television shows, to know they more closely reflect my own values than do Trump’s.
I’m also willing to bet you right now, before anyone has done the research, that there’s quite a bit of overlap between women who voted for Trump and women who are Oprah fans. Just because they didn’t buy into her endorsement of Hillary Clinton doesn’t mean they wouldn’t rethink matters if Oprah herself was on the ballot.
I hate to pop this trial balloon before liftoff, but it’s not exactly clear that Oprah is even interested.
In the interview that caused Wednesday’s stir, Bloomberg’s David Rubenstein asked her if she’d thought about running for president.
“I actually never thought that that was, I never considered the question even a possibility. I just thought, Oh, oh,” she said, pointedly arching her eyebrows on the ohs.
Because it’s clear you don’t need government experience to be elected president, Rubenstein interjected, referring to Trump.
“That’s what I thought. I thought, ‘Oh, gee, I don’t have the experience. I don’t know enough. I don’t know. And now I’m thinking, Oh, oh.”
The Bloomberg interview was taped in December. When Stephen Colbert brought up the same subject with Oprah in January, she said: “Never! No, it’s not my thing.”
Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to just keep everyone guessing for a couple of years.