A Cult Of Personality: America’s Popularity Contest

Trump v Oprah Popularity contest
Trump vs Oprah 2020, A Popularity Contest PHOTO: variety.com, January, 2018

Does Popularity Equal Presidential?

Let’s go back to the days of middle school when there were races for your class president.  Do you ever remember listening intently to the candidate’s policies?  Did you ever make your decision based on a candidate’s credentials to lead your class?  Chances are probably not.  However, did you choose your class president based on their popularity?  Chances are definitely yes.  Races for your class president back in the day were basically glorified popularity contests.  Unfortunately, it seems that the same popularity contest has now translated to our nation’s Presidential elections.  At least, that appears to be the direction we are headed toward.

A Quick Recap

Trump Popularity
President Donald Trump (Washington Free Beacon)

In 2016, Donald Trump won the Presidential election, cementing him forever in the history books.  Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Trump showed us that when it comes to politics in the United States, anything can happen.  Donald Trump is not the most popular President this country has had.  However, his name and brand carried much more weight than Hillary could have anticipated.  When your brand is on every building and golf course around the nation, people begin to take notice.  Trump’s popularity as a businessman and reality television star gave him a strong base of supporters.  He was different than the average candidate.  Never one to shy away from some mudslinging, the New York businessman verbally demolished his opponents.

From someone who has some reservations and issues with our President, I have to admit, Donald Trump’s campaign was unlike anything I have seen growing up.  Many people viewed this election as a fluke, saying we would return to electing “normal” politicians come 2020.  However, if the Golden Globes were a glimpse into the future, those people may be wrong.

A “Golden” Opportunity

On January 7th, 2018 at the 75th annual Golden Globe Award Ceremony, Oprah Winfrey was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award.  The media mogul gave a speech that many viewed as almost, Presidential.  Countless posts throughout social media declaring Oprah would become the challenger against Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Elections.

Oprah Popularity
75th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS — Pictured: Oprah Winfrey, Winner, Cecil B. Demille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 — (Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

NBC News even tweeted calling Oprah “Our Future President”, but have since deleted the tweet after receiving backlash.  Oprah Winfrey, by all accounts, is a successful, established businesswoman.  She is considered to be one of the most successful media moguls in American history.  Coming from an impoverished background, and forced to endure unspeakable things, Oprah’s rise to success is the epitome of the American Dream.  However, the idea of her running for President of the United States is counterproductive.

 Can We Bring Things Back To Normal?

As stated earlier, our Presidential elections have been turning into a race to see who is more popular.  If there was to be a race for the Oval Office in 2020 against Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey, the election would be nothing more than a glorified popularity contest.  Our elections should not reward the most popular. Our elections should allow for the most qualified to win.  This is also not to say that Oprah would make a bad President.  However, I do believe she can provide more positive change in our world through her business.  Working in the private sector and with non-profit organizations has already proven to be an astronomical success for the media icon.  America needs to get back to putting up people with backgrounds in the public sector and legal experience to run for public office.  Donald Trump’s presidency has shown the American people that it is possible for people to break into the political arena with little experience.  However, I believe it would benefit our country if we got back to an election system based on merit, and not based on popularity.  I think America has earned a normal election after what transpired in 2016.

2020
Presidential Election 2020 (davemanuel.com)

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