In a column published Monday, conservative talk radio show host John Ziegler responded to speculation regarding media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who many believe could run for the presidency in 2020.
The speculation started after Winfrey delivered a victory speech as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award Sunday during the Golden Globes. In her speech, which received acclaim from Hollywood celebrities and many on the left, Winfrey addressed the wave of sexual harassment allegations sweeping Hollywood and touched on the theme of female empowerment.
It’s unclear whether Winfrey actually has any interest being president, but according to Ziegler, even if she did, she would have no chance of defeating President Donald Trump.
Ziegler — an ardent Never Trumper who criticized then-candidate Trump throughout the 2016 election season — began his Mediaite column by noting that there’s “every chance” the idea of Winfrey running is “little more than a publicity stunt and at most a trial balloon.”
But still, he wrote, “the first indications” are there that Winfrey and Trump will face off in 2020.
Ziegler argued that if Winfrey does jump into the race, she would likely prevail in what he called a “crowded and unspectacular Democratic field” of candidates.
To support this assertion, he indicated that Winfrey would be given millions of dollars in free media attention — in a similar manner to the attention Trump got during the 2016 Republican primaries.
Further detailing this argument, he wrote that the media’s “broken business model requires someone LIKE (Trump) to win, or at least be his opponent.”
“An Oprah/Trump matchup would be a short-term bonanza for the media, with no bad outcome — since they care not about the destruction of the country — in the long-term,” he added.
Moreover, according to Ziegler, Winfrey would receive support from women and minorities, and the fact that she is already beloved by liberals would ensure that she would not face any harsh criticism from Democrats.
But even if she got the Democrat nomination and went on to face Trump, Ziegler does not think she could defeat him.
“In fact,” he wrote, “a strong case could be made that Oprah is ill-suited to face Trump, one-on-one, in a general election.”
Ziegler then provided a list of Trump’s strengths and weaknesses, and explained that Winfrey “fails to provide a viable alternative.”
For example, Trump is considered by many to be unqualified for office, but by the time 2020 rolls along, he would have more political qualifications than Winfrey. Moreover, Winfrey, like Trump, is really nothing more than a “celebrity reality show star.”
Also, while Trump won in 2016 thanks in large part to the support of white males, Winfrey would do even worse in this demographic than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ziegler said.
In addition, he noted that Trump would likely “relish” launching attacks on Winfrey, who has “never really faced that treatment in her career.”
He then suggested that the narrative that exists due to Trump’s frequent criticism of mainstream media bias would only be solidified by the “media’s inevitable Obama-like swoon for Oprah.”
Finally, Ziegler wrote, “A large part of Trump’s appeal is a reaction of political correctness and the sense that we have gone soft as a nation, and Oprah would be seen as a big part of how those problems were created.”
The talk radio show host did admit that Winfrey has some advantages, namely her name recognition and “her use of television messaging.”
He concluded by saying that unless he believes Trump to be mentally unfit to hold office, he would vote for the president.
“Of course, the bigger issue here is whether the idea that we are even seriously discussing such a presidential matchup means that America, at least as we knew it, is already gone forever,” Ziegler wrote.
As The Western Journal reported, Winfrey used much of her speech to address the flurry of sexual misconduct scandals that have recently rocked the entertainment industry.
She was also one of many performers to made subtle jabs at Trump and give a nod to progressive talking points.
Winfrey spoke of “a culture broken by beautifully powerful men.” But she finished with a bit of optimism, noting that “a new day … is on the horizon.”
According to The Washington Post, Winfrey’s words sparked a controversy, with some saying she should challenge Trump in 2020, while others said she did not have the experience necessary to run for the highest elected office in the land.
Winfrey has yet to announce her intentions for 2020.
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