On November 8th, 2016, a minority of Americans hoisted a reality TV star on us as our new President. Donald Trump has not yet ended life in the Western Hemisphere, but that’s mostly because he’s been incapable of passing a whole lot of legislation. He’s passed a tax bill that will add $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, lowers taxes on the top brackets and corporations, opens up the Arctic to drilling, cuts Medicaid, and mandates future cuts if the deficits end up even worse. Considering that’s his crowning achievement, this isn’t going so well.
So after last night’s Golden Globe Awards, some Democrats are openly calling for Oprah Winfrey in 2020. Yes, Oprah. She gave a speech that is getting rave reviews, though I didn’t see the Golden Globes (I don’t really watch awards shows besides the VMA’s and Grammy’s), and people are suggesting she is just what the Democrats need. The logic goes that she is an even bigger celebrity than Donald Trump, would excite the Democratic base, and could cut against all of Trump’s biggest vices.
I’m going to have to admit that I’m not really on board. It’s nothing personal against Oprah, I’m somewhat indifferent to her, but it’s time that the politics of celebrity stop. There has been a disturbing trend, one that basically began after Watergate, and has rapidly been speeding up since the end of the Cold War, where experience has mattered less and less in Presidential elections. We just passed on a former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State for a guy who bankrupt some casinos, and now over 50% of the country dislikes the guy in office. We’ve sort of accepted the idea that any experience in life can prepare you to lead a government with nuclear bombs, a multi-trillion budget, dozens of agencies, and huge debt. Somehow Oprah’s business experience, like Trump’s before her, supposedly qualifies her to deal with health care and North Korea. I have to say, I don’t agree.
The reason I supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 was her experience and qualifications. For his faults, Lyndon Johnson’s incredible success in domestic politics was driven by his relationships and experience in navigating Washington. Dwight Eisenhower came into office ready to tackle the Cold War and the Soviet Union as a retired Five Star General. The great Presidents of the past had vast experience in the political and governmental arena, something critical to understanding the scope of the job. President Obama got better as his term went on, because he gained experience. I happen to believe experience certainly doesn’t hurt at all.
What the Democrats, and in fact America needs is some competency and qualifications in 2020. America is crying out for a ready, competent, qualified candidate in 2020. Frankly, someone boring and not divisive wouldn’t hurt either. Electing an elected official with a record of achieving things, in government, would be a great idea in 2020. I promise, it wouldn’t hurt.