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Oprah 2020?

Julie Robertson, Editor-in-chief

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Photo from Luke Vargas (Wikimedia Creative Commons)

 On Sunday Jan. 7, Oprah Winfrey delivered a speech after accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award that silenced the audience assembled in the Golden Globe ballroom, then brought them to their feet clapping and crying out appreciation of Oprah’s powerful words addressing how time was up for women being discriminated against in the world and work place.

I watched her deliver her speech, and felt goosebumps go over my body as she talked about how the time to end gender discrimination was now. She shared her personal experiences as a woman of color in the world of male leaders who rule everything. As she ended her speech, I went to Twitter to see what people were saying about this speech that had a very presidential tone to it. People were tweeting about how they would vote for her and how “Oprah 2020” had a great ring to it.

As a woman about to graduate from high school, I have been thinking a lot about how I may vote in the next presidential election, if I agree with any of the candidates that would be on the ballet. I come from a very liberal family that sometimes isolates themselves from seeing the other side of politics that we may not agree with. One of my goals for 2017 was to try to be able to see both sides, and I really tried hard to do that. But as I watched this strong, powerful, successful woman deliver a very liberal speech, I couldn’t help myself but think, “Screw that mentality. This is who we really need to be running the show!” I wasn’t alone in thinking like that. The Hill reported on Jan. 9 that “Oprah 2020” gear has been creating quite the frenzy with people hoping that the queen of talk shows may run for office in the next election.

But after doing research into what a campaign may look like for Oprah and what her potential opponents may try to dig up to make her look bad, I realize that unfortunately, there is a lot that would undoubtedly resurface. When Oprah opened her school for girls in South Africa, there were allegations of sexual assault between the administration and the students. However, I feel that this should not be seen as Oprah’s fault directly. She called the school a “gift” to the girls and wanted only positive outcomes of the school. Bad things happen at good places, but as we have seen in the past few months, any notable person who has connections to these types of allegations gets dragged in the mud. And if we’re being honest, Trump may try to seek re-election in 2020, and he will for sure try to cover up his own sexual assault allegations and throw dirt onto other people.

Another problem that may arise with an Oprah campaign is something that we saw all the time with the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Because Clinton was an older white woman who had been in politics for a long time, she was often perceived as “bossy”, “unrelatable”, and “unattractive.” I believe this mentality of how the voters and male opponents perceive any woman candidate is absolutely unacceptable and outdated. Women often face this problem everyday when speaking up about issues. When they sound intelligent about an issue, they are dismissed or ridiculed as bossy or a know-it-all.

An edge that Oprah may have over other female opponents in the 2020 election is that she has a sort of “rags to riches” background. In her speech on Sunday, she talked about how when she remembered when she was a little girl, seeing the first African American man receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award as her mother came home from a long day of cleaning houses. She comes from a single-parent household in Kosciusko, Miss. Her background should be an asset should she run for political office. The age of rich old white men having all the power in politics is over. It is time for a woman who has seen and experienced the world in the same ways that a majority of American voters have seen to be in charge. It is time for someone like Oprah Winfrey to be in charge.

Not only does Oprah have the background of someone to whom the American people can relate, but she has received extremely highly renowned humanitarian awards that could again give her more edge when it comes to her credibility to have a high political position. These awards including the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen in 1989 and the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, just to name two of the more than 25 she has been awarded throughout her distinguished career and public life.

Another edge that Oprah may have as a presidential candidate is her extensive list of philanthropic work. In 2004 Winfrey became the first black person to rank among the 50 most generous Americans. By 2012 she had given away more than $400 million to educational causes. One of her charities, “Oprah’s Angel Network,” supports worthwhile projects by providing grants to non-profit organizations around the world.

Will Oprah run for president in 2020? Would she have the firepower to get legislation passed that benefit the poor and protect the environment for generations to come? I love what she represents as a woman having to work her way up the ranks and becoming one of the most successful people in the world. She wants to end sexism in the workplace with her involvement in the “Times Up” movement, and as someone who will be entering the workforce soon after the next presidential vote, I can confidently say that Oprah Winfrey would have my vote.

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9 Responses to “Oprah 2020?”

  1. J. Mariana on January 19th, 2018 2:11 pm

    In all honestly I also watched the Golden Globe awards and Oprah’s speech left me in a state of awe because she is such an inspirational woman. I agree that she would make an excellent president and, unfortunately, time the election comes around I will be a couple months too young to vote.
    This article was really enlightening and gave some really important details that I didn’t know about. Also, it is not always easy to look at both sides of the story, so excellent job keeping an open mind on all of this.
    Oprah 2020!

  2. Luke Robb on January 19th, 2018 6:19 pm

    All in all, I really enjoyed what you wrote about and by the time the 2020 elections roll around, she sure has my vote. You made some great points on how people will try and dig up dirt on Oprah but I think you need more reasons to support your statement. You led into it like there was going to be multiple, but there was only one. Also, I dislike very much how you made it sound like all men are against women and that all of us are super overbearing and extremely rude. I think you should edit your piece just a bit to fix this. One more thing is that you suggested that all of our past presidents have been rich, white snobs with no real taste of reality. What about Abraham Lincoln or Barack Obama? You have a great piece overall but I think you need to edit it a little to make it sound less like a nag on all the past presidents and all men in general.

  3. Olivia Watts on January 22nd, 2018 2:33 pm

    I watched the golden globes and saw Oprah give her speech and I feel she would be a good president despite having no political background. I also believe that if she ran other political candidates would try to dig up dirt on her but what matters is how she deals with this. For example if she denies everything that basically means she is guilty, which would be a poor way to deal with the issue, and if she accepts the charges against her apologizes and moves on, which would be a good way to deal with this.

  4. Renee Ziegler on January 23rd, 2018 11:40 am

    I remember watching the same speech during the Golden Globes and feeling very emotional. This article highlighting both sides of her background, her credibility that would help her run and the dirt that people could find on her. I don’t know if she’ll run or not, but I feel like she’ll still get lots of support from people who have loved her for years. If the allegations come up about her school, I agree with Olivia in that it would depend on how Oprah retaliated from that.

  5. Molly Odland on January 23rd, 2018 11:54 am

    I really enjoyed reading this article ! I thought this story was well put together and you made some great points. I agreed that Oprah shouldn’t necessarily get blamed for the sexual assault allegations between administration and students at her school as it was opened up for good intentions. I think it would have been nice to have some more details of her childhood growing up to give the reader some more insight on her life.

  6. Jasmine Barrera on January 23rd, 2018 12:01 pm

    Watching Oprah’s speech brought tears to my eyes. Even though it was 10 minutes like it felt like 30 seconds. It reminded me that there is still good people with power in this world and that we shouldn’t give up on humanity. It gave me something that I haven’t felt in a long time; hope for the future. I don’t know if Oprah will run for president, and I don’t know how much dirt will be brought out against her and shoved into our mouths to destroy her campaign, but I do know that Oprah’s speech has inspired me and hundreds of thousands of others to not give up hope that it will get better.

  7. Rowan Lerman on January 23rd, 2018 12:02 pm

    She’s such an inspiration for so many people out there, in my opinion we hit a low point when Donald trump became the president, he’s the exact definition of rich old white men in office. I think when Oprah addressed all the issues in the US she opened a lot of people’s minds.

  8. gracie ross on February 6th, 2018 12:06 pm

    I would love to see Oprah in office, she would 100% have my vote if I would able to vote in 2020. Her speech was wonderful at the Golden Globes and she really put out an amazing message.

  9. Katie on February 26th, 2018 2:12 pm

    Oprah’s Golden Globes speech was so powerful and moving. Seeing her in office would be seems like a radical thought, but I would love to see her in office, I think she could really influence a lot of people.

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