The fervor over a potential White House bid by Oprah Winfrey could be felt last week from Hollywood to Washington.
“That was the voice of a leader,” actress Meryl Streep gushed to the BBC of Winfrey’s impassioned Golden Globes speech about the “Time’s Up” movement against sexual misconduct.
“Her voice is powerful and important,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said.
Political experts say the frenzy, which manifested on social media as #Oprah2020, reflected deep anxiety among those who are eager to unseat President Donald Trump but worried about the Democrats’ lack of a standard-bearer.
Enter the idea of Winfrey — the former talk show queen with magnetism, massive wealth and 100 percent name recognition.
“It’s desperation, it’s a lack of creativity,” said Christina Greer, a Democratic political analyst and NYU McSilver Institute fellow. “It’s a lazy approach. Oprah’s supposed to come in and do what her TV show does, which is make you feel good without challenging you.”
Winfrey’s partner, Stedman Graham, had fueled speculation after the Jan. 7 awards show by telling The Los Angeles Times there is “absolutely” a chance she would run.
Winfrey’s speech supporting the “Me Too” coalition of women against sexual harassment earned a standing ovation. “So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon,” she said.