Why Oprah — yes, Oprah — should be our next President

She might not be your first choice, but Oprah Winfrey is a better choice than most potential candidates.

Christopher Keelty

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Let’s begin with one simple fact: Oprah Winfrey, the media mogul who rose from abject poverty to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world, has not announced her candidacy for President of the United States. All she did was accept an award commemorating her incredible achievements in film and television. Her acceptance speech was powerful and inspiring, letter-perfect for the cultural moment in America, but, well… she’s Oprah. No one should expect otherwise, and if the result was Americans crying out for her to hold leadership (and various sources saying she’s considering it) we shouldn’t be surprised. But Oprah has not publicly said she wants to be President.

With that out of the way… There is no reason Oprah Winfrey should not be the next President of the United States. For starters, there is no greater irony than the nation currently headed by Donald J. Trump asking “is Oprah qualified?” Qualified to what? Undermine her nation and her own party with self-obsessed impulsive tweets? Compare dick sizes with foreign despots? Watch television all day? I’m pretty confident Oprah can outperform the current occupant of the Oval Office.

But to suggest that Oprah is only considered because Donald Trump lowered the bar (as the New York Times allowed Thomas Chatterson Williams to do) is both offensive and incorrect. Oprah was a viable candidate for President before Trump, and remains so in spite of — not because of — his calamitous ascent.

Who is Oprah Winfrey? We’ve established she’s the kind of rags-to-riches, self-made tycoon most American politicians bend over backwards to portray. Oprah went from wearing potato sacks on her grandmother’s farm to wearing a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and moving between multiple properties worldwide. The child of a poor, unwed mother and an unknown father, a teenage runaway who endured sexual, physical, and emotional abuse from multiple family members, a woman of color who rose through a media industry rife with bias and outright racism to help define the genre of daytime talk show — then redefine it when she felt the exploitative…

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Christopher Keelty

Writer, cartoonist, and nonprofit pro. I have too many interests, but let’s focus on culture & politics. Bisexual, cis. He/him, please. | Twitter: @keeltyc.