Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Call me old-fashioned but ... Oprah?

In the wake of her barnstorming speech at the Golden Globes awards recently, Oprah Winfrey is now being touted, in all seriousness, as the potential saviour of the Democratic Party and their best bet to beat Donald Trump in the presidential elections of 2020. And, by all accounts, she may well be seriously considering it.
Now, while no-one is denying that, in a straight choice between Oprah and Trump, one outcome is clearly more desirable than the other, this is probably not a bad time to stand back and say "Woah!" Has it really come to this, that the US presidential elections will be fought between two TV billionaires? What happened to politicians? You know, those people who actually understand how countries are governed and international relations function?
That Trump has single-handedly debased the political process in America is beyond doubt. That we should abandon all precedent entirely, though, is by no means a necessary corollary. Rather we should see this as a salutary warning not to proceed further down that path. Ronald Reagan was one thing (and not necessrily a good thing, depending on your point of view). But now talk of Oprah - and, not so long ago, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, even Dwayne Johnson - getting into the politics game is an alarming development, to put it mildly, and a scary indication of where mainstream American priorities may lie.
Surely, high level politics should be about more than Twitter followings, more even than the ability to turn in a good rousing speech. Can we please get back to the good old bad old days of seasoned politicians arguing policy positions based on their ideological interpretations of well-understood and documented economic data and tried-and-tested foreign policy traditions. God, the boring old status quo has never looked so good!

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