Power of celebrity


Friday Forum

Your views on the news

Once it might have taken the most fanciful, or satiric, of political forecasters to predict that a US presidential race would be between contenders best known for being a former reality TV show star and a former daytime talk show host.

However, ever since her inspiring Golden Globes speech on female empowerment (with its presidential sounding catchphrase of “a new day in on the horizon”) Oprah Winfrey is now being widely touted as the Democrats’ best hope to take on Donald Trump at the next US election.

In the absence of any statement of intent from Winfrey herself, the Trump vs Oprah election might still only exist in the overexcited collective imagination.

Trump himself expressed scepticism that Winfrey would run but did add for good measure that if she did it would be a lot of fun and he would beat her.

Some have attempted to douse enthusiasm for a Winfrey for the White House (or perhaps Oprah for the Oval Office) push by pointing to Trump as the example of what happens when someone is elected to the pinnacle of power without previously holding any public office.

Michael Wolff’s book sensational behind-the-scenes expose Fire and Fury paints a disturbing picture of a president and administration completely unprepared, and in virtually all vital respects, largely unfit to govern.

Crosslight reviewer Garth Jones wrote this: “Fire & Fury confirms the worst suspicions many hold about the 45th president’s temperament, lack of agenda and complete disinterest in the fundamentals of government.”

However, it seems Trump has set a precedent that has made what previously would have been a throwaway joke or muse about any particular celebrity running for president, such as professional wrestler turned movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, into a somewhat credible proposition.

In what can now only be seen as a startlingly prophetic film, the satire Idiocracy (2006) imagined an America so dumbed down the president was elected mainly on the qualifications of being a professional wrestler.

As it turns out this movie was quite prophetic as the current US president has indeed delivered a body slam and a few unconvincing blows in a professional wrestling show.

There is an old saying that politics is show business for ugly people but increasingly it seems politics is simply just show business.

Our Friday Forum question is: Should the Democrats go with Oprah if she can beat Trump or would that be a further step in making politics indistinguishable from entertainment?


Image: CBS News/Twitter

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