Yes, there is an allure to the idea of Oprah or Mark Zuckerberg running for president. But it's a bad idea for many reasons.
At more local levels, finding a local millionaire who can self-fund may seem like a natural" but it's a bad idea.
I have my thoughts on why, but I've written this article hoping that you, the crowd will provide the wisdom. And it's for a specific reason-- there are going to be great candidates out there and they will face millionaires and lazy Democratic party leaders and the DCCC, etc., who will lean towards what seems to be the easy route. So tell me why this is not a good idea.
People who can self-fund their campaigns can save local or national political insiders a lot of worry and hassle over fund-raising. But that only helps the insiders. It takes away the voice of the people in deciding a candidate--if the insiders anoint the millionaire as the chosen candidate. Also bad, the millionaire may, because he's the chosen one, be able to avoid the primary process of running a campaign. He may be able to avoid having to deal with the whole election process. He can pay for canvassers, pay for petitioners, pay, pay pay, all the while avoiding voters, except for plum, cherry-picked events.
I have a start on this argument, and I cite arguments by a number of other writers, regarding Oprah not running, below. But I'd like your help. What are the reasons that self-funding millionaires do not make good candidates, no matter how good their political positions are?
Guardian writer, Briahna Joy Gray writes,
" the enthusiasm around the mere specter of Oprah's presidency reveals an uncomfortable truth about the hypocrisy of Democrats: all the talk of competency during the 2016 presidential election, qualifications, be they ideological or political, are mere pretexts for their choice of candidate.
In the build up to and aftershock of the 2016 election, perhaps the loudest and most consistent protest heard from Hillary Clinton supporters was "but she's the most qualified!" Despite having a longer record of public service, Senator Bernie Sanders was deemed less, and by some, insufficiently qualified to run for president. His relative inexperience with foreign policy was a point of regular critique, and those who supported his candidacy on ideological grounds were dismissed as "purists" who didn't understand the real "work " of being president."
Time magazine writes:
" Replacing a political amateur with a political amateur with good intentions doesn't solve certain core problems the executive branch is suffering at the moment. Winfrey has given her fans every indication through the years that she is a skilled executive, a genius of empathy and a deep reader of literature (a sharp contrast to our current post-literacy president), but it's not exactly pedantic to suggest, as various positions lie unfilled and as America's status on the world stage sinks, that some level of experience is needed to run the federal government."
"America shouldn't be a place where celebrity is a prerequisite for politics, they say, and we don't need another political novice in the White House."And adds further, reasons why Oprah should not run,
" Though some establishment Democrats suggested Winfrey could be taken seriously, political journalists and commentators rushed to argue why she shouldn't be.
One common theme: Democrats might be overcorrecting and seeking out a figure who will be prone to many of the same criticisms they've often launched at Trump. She lacks expertise in foreign or domestic policy and knows little of the ins and outs of American politics, and while she certainly knows how to rile up a crowd, it's unclear what policy substance lies beneath her rhetoric.
Winfrey has zero political experience, and while the same is true for Trump, it is certainly fair to say that having a novice president has not been, well, smooth sailing .
"She may, in fact, be what Trump pretends to be -- a self-made business success story whose words resonate across the country," wrote Ben Smith, BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief , in an article called "The Case Against President Oprah."
"But Democrats don't want to improve on Trump," he continued. "They want to reverse him. And that's where governors and senators with deep experience, proven political chops, and an unglamorous sense of normalcy come in."
The Washington Post writes, in an article titled, Get a Grip People, Oprah Should Not Run For President, "An election never goes by without a healthy number of candidates claiming that they're the best person for the job because they have no relevant experience and know nothing about it. "I'm a businessman, not a politician," they declare, to the nods of their future constituents. If you needed a new roof put on your house and somebody came to you saying, "I'm a computer programmer, not a roofer," going on to explain that the roofing business is a mess and all you need is some outside-the-box thinking to make your roof better than ever, you'd be a fool to hire him. Yet somehow the same logic doesn't seem to apply when people think about whom they should elect," and, further, "The question for Democrats is who would win and who would be the best president of all the available options. Neither I nor anyone else really knows how she would respond to the challenges of that most challenging job. Being president isn't like hosting a talk show or running a media brand. Oprah's success in her field is no more indicative of her potential to be a good president than Trump's success in real estate was. You can't criticize Trump for having no relevant experience or evident understanding of public policy, then say that the solution for Democrats is just to throw up their hands and find their own celebrity to promote."
Daily Beast writes, Why Oprah Shouldn't Run For President, saying,
"If Oprah were to run and win, perhaps then we'd be in a new dystopian era where only celebrities can win presidential elections. But until then, to assume that Trump has altered the very nature of American politics to the point that it cannot be course-corrected is pessimism I won't subscribe to.
The conversation about whether or not Oprah should run for president has always left a sour taste in my mouth. Yes, Oprah electrifies America but that is what we expect her to do as an artist. The idea that this vigor must translate into a political career seems as shortsighted as it does selfish."
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