The Oprah-for-president endorsements began rolling in even before
Meryl Streep: “I want her to run”). Elected Democrats cheered (Congresswoman
Jackie Speier: “Run, Oprah, run!”). Campaign operative Democrats swooned (“Call me,” tweeted the Iowa state director of
Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort).
One key group, however, isn’t buying the hype: actual democratic Democrats, the mostly young, grassroots insurgents who propelled
Bernie Sanders in his surprisingly strong 2016 primary bid. Their rejection of Oprah is a preview of the intramural battle that’s beginning to rage again between the pragmatic professional Democrats and the idealistic
Elizabeth Warren-Sanders wing. The left believes that
Hillary Clinton’s loss means that 2020 should be its turn, and that the Democratic nomination should go to a genuine liberal populist—not to another centrist hand-delivered by the D.N.C. insiders who rigged the 2016 primary, nor a rich, politically unprincipled celebrity, the Democratic version of
Donald Trump. “There’s really no question that Oprah is very much an establishment figure,” said
Corbin Trent, a former Sanders staffer who is the communications director for Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee that is working to elect committed left-of-center Democrats in this year’s midterms. “Oprah’s speech hit plenty of important values. But 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.”
The other faction aggressively throwing cold water on the idea of an Oprah 2020 presidential run has been Winfrey’s friends. Curiously, though, some of her putative Democratic competitors wouldn’t mind seeing the possibility of candidate Oprah linger a bit longer—even though polls show her trouncing all of them. A few months of Oprah speculation could provide welcome cover from Republican attack, and it would reduce the risk of peaking too soon in the media. “No one wants to be the 2020 front-runner in January 2018,” said a top Democratic strategist. “Without Oprah, the field is going to be Noah’s Ark, but instead of two of everything, there will be four of everything—African-Americans, women, governors, mayors.”
A large primary field likely benefits people who don’t currently have high national name-recognition—such as New York Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand, former Massachusetts governor
Deval Patrick, or Los Angeles Mayor
Eric Garcetti—and who might need to overtake the much-better-known Warren, Sanders, and Biden. “It all depends on what Oprah does, though,” the operative said. “If this speech was it and she doesn’t give any more oxygen to the idea, then it goes away quickly and the media moves on to something else. If she talks to a foreign policy expert, it will create a lot of coverage. And if she runs? Hell yeah she’d be an impactful candidate: the heart of the Democratic primary vote is black women, she has 100-percent name I.D., and she’s inspirational. Would she be a good candidate? Who knows?
Wesley Clark was going to be a great candidate.” The general turned out to have plenty of self-inflicted weaknesses as a 2004 presidential contestant—but, like Oprah, he was no liberal favorite either.
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Sean Spicer’s little white lie.The first truth-bending claim of the Trump administration came just a day after the inauguration, when
Sean Spicer introduced himself to the world by claiming that Trump’s inauguration had drawn the largest audience ever, despite several photos showing a rather sparse crowd. Within a month, Spicer, once a well-respected journeyman flack in D.C. media circles, had cemented his reputation as Trump’s own Baghdad Bob.Photo: Left, by Lucas Jackson/Pool/Getty Images; right, by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.
Trump’s first act of self-sabotage.Less than two weeks after he was inaugurated, Trump bungled a major campaign promise when he signed an executive order restricting travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The order sparked protests across the country and threw border control into chaos as it struggled to implement . . . something. Federal courts immediately blocked the ban, declaring that it was an unconstitutional religious test meant to discriminate against Muslims, and pointed to Trump’s own comments as proof. The ban continues to wind its way through federal court, continually hamstrung thanks to the way Trump and then adviser
Steve Bannon mangled its initial rollout.Photo: By Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.
Kellyanne Conway’s quest for the perfect angle.Back when she was still known as Trump’s maternal handler, the White House adviser drew scrutiny for kneeling on an Oval Office couch as casually as if she owned the place (she does not). She told the press that she had done so to snap a photo of Trump and a group of visiting presidents of H.C.B.U.s, and that it seemed to be the best angle.Photo: By Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.
Donald Trump’s little side gig.The lawsuit against Trump University was the perfect allegory for a Trump presidency: the real-estate billionaire stood accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars from regular folks, promising that his financial know-how would make them wealthy overnight, and then leaving them with nothing. Back in March, Trump settled three separate lawsuits—two class-action suits and a fraud case—against the university for $25 million.Photo: By Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images.
Melania’s hurricane stilettos.Of course Melania Trump, former model and Upper East Side inhabitant, would think nothing of wearing stiletto heels while preparing to visit a hurricane disaster zone. But after the Internet slammed her for her tone-deaf fashion faux pas, a practice that goes back centuries, she emerged from Air Force One just hours later wearing a brand-new pair of white sneakers and what appeared to be a men’s button-up shirt.Photo: By Alex Wong/Getty Images.
Trump’s Twitter feuds, part 2.North Korea’s “three generations of punishment” law dictates that if a citizen commits a crime, they and their entire family will be sent to prison camps, and the next two generations of children will remain there. Somewhat similarly, Donald Trump declared that Steph Curry’s refusal to attend a White House ceremony acknowledging the Golden State Warriors N.B.A. Championship meant that the entire team’s invite was withdrawn. (When N.F.L. player
Tom Brady’s turn came for a White House invite, he sidestepped controversy by claiming an illness in the family.)Photo: By Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.
Tom Price’s nasty private-jet habit.Of all the Trump administration officials who habitually use taxpayer dollars to fund their private jet travel,
Tom Price, the former Health and Human Services secretary, was the only one let go because of it. Granted, his plane use was egregious compared to the other Cabinet members being investigated: whereas
Steve Mnuchin, and
Scott Pruitt racked up a few thousand dollars in dubious flights to their homes and to the occasional donor party, Price spent $400,0000 on flights to places like Nashville (where his son lives), Philadelphia (which is less than a two-hour train ride from D.C.), and St. Simons, a private island in Georgia where he and his wife happen to own a million-dollar property. Such graft somehow infuriated Trump, who told reporters that he was “not happy” with Price’s plane profligacy.
Source : https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/01/why-bernie-sanders-democrats-are-raining-on-the-oprah-parade