Barack Obama became a serious presidential candidate before he had even been elected to the U.S. Senate. Those who heard his keynote speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention instinctively recognized his great oratorical gifts, and how far they would carry him.
Four years later, his archrival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton, clearly felt that Obama was trying to usurp what was rightfully hers. She had certainly paid her dues, and now this young upstart was easily outshining her.
Obama’s gift was communicating directly with the voters, a skill that Hillary Clinton grudgingly admired. Indeed, when she ran again in 2016, she freely admitted her relatively poor political skills in comparison with those of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as well as those of President Obama.
Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan all had this great ability to connect with most Americans. And in fairness, President Donald Trump – although a highly divisive figure--relishes campaigning so much that he continues appearing before highly partisan crowds a year after being elected, just to bask in their adulation.
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And now, minutes after Oprah delivered her extremely moving Golden Globe awards acceptance speech on Sunday evening, almost everyone seemed to be talking about how she should run for president.
Of course, she is completely unqualified. After all, Oprah is just another super-rich television personality who never held political office. What chance could she possibly have?
What do you think? Were she to run against Trump in 2020, who would you vote for?
Wouldn’t Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or one of the other seasoned senators positioning themselves to run for the nomination be a better choice? And isn’t it Bernie’s turn?
Well, Hillary Clinton made that some argument a couple of times, only to be rejected by the voters. And then too, Bernie will be 79 on election day of 2020.
When the first polls come out, perhaps in just a few days, we we’ll see that Oprah’s positives far exceed her negatives--the mirror image of Trump’s numbers. If an election were held today, Oprah and Bernie would win in a landslide. In 2020, they might even carry every state.
Full disclosure: Bernie Sanders and I ran track together in high school, and were college roommates for one semester.
About the Author
Steve Slavin has a PhD in economics from NYU, and taught for over thirty years at Brooklyn College, New York Institute of Technology, and New Jersey’s Union County College. He has written sixteen math and economics books including a widely used introductory economics textbook now in its eleventh edition (McGraw-Hill) and The Great American Economy (Prometheus Books) which was published in August.