When Kanye West announced his run for presidency in 2015, most of the general public didn’t take him seriously, seeing it as a publicity stunt and something that could never happen. Two and a half years ago, the idea of a celebrity running for a major political office would have been brushed off as a joke, but today, it seems to be the reality.
Politicians were meant to be trained individuals who had years of experience prior to running for presidency. Yet, when CNN reported in January that Oprah Winfrey was thinking of running for president, this concept didn’t seem as crazy as it once was.
For many, the person to blame for this glorification of celebrities as politicians is President Donald Trump. With his ludicrous ideas and his almost comedic diction in serious political matters, watching him speak can seem more like late night entertainment than political discourse.
While affairs with porn stars and politically incorrect rhetoric had the potential to seriously tarnish the reputations of previous politicians, for Trump it is seen as just another crazy thing that he has done. Like a celebrity, Trump will do or say anything to stay relevant.
With Trump trivializing American politics to the extent that it has become entertainment for many, celebrities like Winfrey have an opening to seriously consider running for office.
While there is no denying that Winfrey has had a massive impact on American culture, with “The Oprah Winfrey Show” receiving 38 television awards and the show as well as being one of the highest rated television shows ever, according to IMDB, this does not mean that she, or any other celebrity, is equipped to be a politician.
With no political experience, much like Trump in that regard, it is difficult to fully examine the knowledge Winfrey or any other celebrity even has about politics. Winfrey is certainly a philanthropist, with Oprah’s Angel Network building 60 schools across 13 countries and Winfrey having donated over $240 million to different organizations, according to Inside Philanthropy. At the same time, many of Winfrey’s political stances are unknown, including increasingly pressing issues like health care, the legalization of marijuana and national security.
Even without knowing her stance on these issues, many people would vote for Winfrey because of who she is rather than what she stands for.
The main problem that can rise from celebrities holding major political offices is the fact that many individuals would have biases on the person. While being charming and an effective speaker is a skill many presidents possess, one shouldn’t vote for a candidate because they like the person running.
Without knowing her policies, nobody should have any reason to vote for Winfrey. It will be increasingly difficult to fully examining Winfrey’s plans for the nations without connecting it to the kind woman with a generous heart. Most celebrities have no experience in any type of governing, but it would be increasingly easy to overlook their lack of experience because they are a household name.
While anybody should be able to run for presidency, even celebrities, it would be much better to start off at the local level and gradually increase in experience until one has the skills to run a nation.
This has proven to be successful through Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Despite being an actor earlier in his life, Reagan gained the experience to become president and was able to separate his celebrity status from his political standings.
It is essential to remember that governing over an entire nation is extremely difficult and should be run with rationality and proven experience, rather than as if it were a television show.