While plenty of people have evinced a belief that delivering a single speech qualifies Oprah to be president (presumably with Dr Oz as Surgeon General and history's smoothest selljob for invading other countries on flimsy pretenses), the young, motivated Warren-Sanders wing of the Democratic party are a lot less enthusiastic.
As Justice Democrats director Corbin Trent says, "From our perspective as an organization, part of what we’re trying to do is create paths to high office that don’t run through the billionaire class. One billionaire president in a decade is going to be plenty for us."
Winfrey’s net worth is verifiably massive. Far less clear are her political beliefs. Aside from enthusiastically championing Obama, and tepidly backing Clinton, she appears to be in favor of stricter gun control, more humane immigration policies, full L.G.B.T.Q. rights, and freedom of the press. All of which are fairly standard positions for any 21st-century Democrat. Where Winfrey stands on single-payer health care, a litmus test on the left, is a large and unsettled question—and leaves the door open a crack with some Berniephiles. “If Oprah were to use her financial independence to be really politically independent, O.K., maybe,” said Briahna Joy Gray, a lawyer and contributing editor at Current Affairs. “But if she’s going to be a typical centrist candidate, she doesn’t excite me any more than Cory Booker or Joe Biden or Kamala Harris do. Bernie Sanders was independent because he actually inspired people to give him $27 donations. That’s something we should be infinitely more excited about and proud of than hoping for a benevolent billionaire to do the right thing and save us all.”
“It All Depends on What Oprah Does”: Why Bernie Sanders Democrats Are Raining on the Oprah Parade [Chris Smith/Vanity Fair]
(Images: Donkey Hotey, CC-BY; Annika Laas, CC-BY-SA)
Zephyr Teachout (previously) is a netroots pioneer, a leading competition law scholar, and a progressive candidate for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of New York State.
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