American politics gets more and more bizarre as time goes on. It has been said by many an observer that all elections are popularity contests. The latest trend seems to codify that observation. Billionaire Oprah Winfrey gave a speech at last night’s Golden Globe awards that was passionate, and tapped into the sentiments of many in Hollywood around the issue of sexual misconduct. Not being content to leave it at that, a number of people online and in the media have floated the idea of Oprah running for president in 2020.
A notion that would be out of the question even a decade ago, is now being seriously considered. Apparently, the Democrats believe that the only way to counter a celebrity billionaire with massive name recognition is to put them against another celebrity billionaire with massive name recognition. In addition to “fighting fire with fire”, this potential match up pushes to the side a serious discussion about what kind of policies the Democrats will pursue in the next two years. Symbolism will yet again edge out substance, and the valid concerns of independents, third party voters, and other progressives will be left twisting in the wind.
There will be no serious discussion of what to do about the devastating tax cuts from the Trump Administration, and hype will be used to bring people back into the DNC fold.
Another illustrative aspect of this discussion, is that it reveals a lack of political imagination on the part of those proposing it. Instead of an attempt at reform, we are presented the possibility of a liberal oligarch in place of a conservative one.
It’s like we have not learned anything from the past two years. As long as the “blue team” wins, who needs things like single payer health care and a living wage anyway?