Oprah Winfrey for president? That was the burning question in American politics on Monday after the entertainment celebrity and entrepreneur delivered a barnstorming speech that had many hailing her as the antidote to Donald Trump.
While she shares Trump’s status as a multimillionaire, Winfrey’s identity as a liberal African American woman – who pointedly defended the press in her speech – would have symbolic power against an incumbent who has admitted groping women, repeatedly stoked racial divisions and frequently attacked the “fake news” media.
But on another level, Winfrey, 63, raised in poverty by a single mother, could pitch herself as a consensus builder. As host of the top-rated talkshow The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years until 2011, she was in the living room of millions of Americans, carving out a persona as a good listener in touch with the average citizen, cutting across class, gender and race.