PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Could Oprah Winfrey’s appearance at the Golden Globe Awards be her first campaign appearance for president?
“I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon,” declared Winfrey in front of a cheering crowd.
Winfrey, the first African-American woman to win a Lifetime Achievement Award, could be just the celebrity to become the first woman president, at least that’s what many Hollywood celebrities seem to think.
“And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women — many of whom are right here in this room tonight — and some pretty phenomenal men,” said Winfrey.
“There are lots of people who never would have been considered presidential candidates before, but in this era after the Trump presidency, there seem to be a lot of people who seem to feel that, ‘why not me?’” says Andrew Conte, director of Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation.
President Trump’s celebrity status helped to catapult him into the White House, Conte told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday.
“There’s no doubt that Donald Trump being a celebrity on television definitely helped him with the presidency,” says Conte. “People were used to seeing him in their homes, and so when he ran for office, they were more than willing to pull the lever for him.”
Some Democrats think one way to defeat Trump in 2020 is with a celebrity of their own.
“What we’ve seen with the Trump presidency is that it’s no longer about what political experience you have, but it’s about your recognizable name and your face and whether people feel comfortable voting for you,” says Conte.
And that could propel Oprah Winfrey into the White House.
“Why not? Why not? They’ve opened up the field for pretty much anybody, celebrities,” said Will Turner, of Baden.
Not everyone agrees.
“I think actually we could probably use fewer celebrities right now in office,” says Ed Witt, of Mt. Lebanon. “I think it would be good to have some people with some experience.”
But celebrities like Winfrey get plenty of attention when they speak.
“For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up,” Winfrey told the crowd Sunday night.
Is another celebrity the best way for Democrats to defeat Trump?
“It’s fascinating because with Trump being president, it sort of raised the bar for everyone,” says Conte. “And now all these celebrities are out there saying, ‘Well, why not me? I think I could run for president, too.’”
Conte says Winfrey is a proven star, but adds, “When you look at who she was talking with at the Golden Globes last night, this was a room filled with elites. So can she be someone who transcends talking to Hollywood and also talking to the average person on the street? That’s going to be a real challenge for her, I think.”
It could also be a challenge for other celebrities thinking of running like Mark Cuban, the Mt. Lebanon native son.
“He’s in the sort of Trump mold. Here’s a businessman, someone who made a ton of money on his own,” says Conte.
And then there’s Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
“He’s doing these meetings all across the country where he’s quietly meeting with people in swing states,” says Conte.
And don’t forget Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
“All bets are off, so why not The Rock?” says Conte.
In this age of celebrity, where a number of men and women have become well-known through television or film, can the standard politician who actually knows something about government get elected President of the United States?
Remember that guy, Joe Biden?
“We will get to the point where people will say, ‘We’ve had enough of this Trump presidency, this celebrity style presidency,’” says Conte. “There will be an appetite for someone who is a traditional, old style politician.”