Oprah could be Democrats’ key to beating Trump

Oprah could be Democrats’ key to beating Trump
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We now live in a country where most voters want nothing to do with politicians. And that’s exactly why Oprah Winfrey could be the Democrats’ ticket to beating President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

It’s easy to understand why Americans have become fed up with politicians who get elected term after term, yet never seem to get anything productive done on Capitol Hill. Many of our elected officials have situated themselves permanently in Washington and, over the years, lost touch with the needs of their constituents back home. Congressman Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungElection handicapper moves 10 races toward Dems Dunleavy, Begich win party nods in 3-way race for Alaska governor Alaska congressional candidate has never visited the state: AP MORE (R-Alaska) has been in office for 45 years; Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDem senator praises Ford opening the door to testifying Ford opens door to testifying next week Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh MORE (D-Vt.) has been in office for 43 years; Rep. Jim SensenbrennerFrank (Jim) James SensenbrennerOn The Money: Trump readying 0B in tariffs for China | Warren wants companies to disclose climate impacts | Bill aims to provide clarity to online sales tax ruling One bill that will stop the spread of deadly fentanyl Ryan backs Vukmir in Wisconsin Senate GOP primary MORE (R-Wis.) has been in office for 39 years. The list goes on and on.

For many, politics has become a career choice — not a temporary act of duty.

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Trump was the only 2016 presidential candidate with no political experience. He won the GOP nomination because disenchanted Republican voters were desperate for something starkly different from the status quo.

 

But make no mistake: It is not only conservatives who have the anti-establishment fever; many Democratic voters are equally as tired of the same old, same old in D.C. Congress currently has a pathetic 16 percent approval rating.

Enter Oprah.

Word has it that the beloved American icon and self-made billionaire may run for president in 2020. Her eloquent and moving speech at last night’s Golden Globes — during which she spoke about equality, justice, women’s rights — stole the show. Even NBC, the network that hosted the awards show, called her “OUR future president” in a tweet.

There are many qualities about Oprah that make her a formidable candidate. She is intelligent, charming and articulate. Plus, the media mogul has the unique ability to connect with Americans of every socioeconomic, racial and academic background. But, like Trump in 2016, her biggest asset on the campaign trail likely would be that she is not a politician.

Oprah is beholden to no party and can, therefore, portray herself as being genuinely concerned about the well-being and prosperity of all Americans, both those who identify as Democrats and those who identify as Republicans. This approach could earn her high marks with moderate voters who have become tired of the same D.C. politicians who continuously spew the same partisan talking points yet rarely follow through on their promises. Many of these same disillusioned voters look at the current faces of the Democrat Party — people like Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiSinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act Internal RNC poll shows Pelosi is more popular than Trump: report Indicted lawmaker angers GOP with decision to run for reelection MORE and Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE — and see angry, out-of-touch partisan hacks.

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To beat Trump in 2020, Democratic leadership must embrace the anti-D.C. sentiment rather than try to stomp it out. The worst mistake the party could make would be to forcibly shove an establishment candidate down their constituents’ throats. Just look at what happened during the 2016 Democratic primary: The Democratic National Committee lost the trust of a significant portion of its base when its superdelegates gave the proverbial middle finger to presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE and his millions of supporters.

The anti-D.C. sentiment that has taken hold of American voters is still not fully understood by many of the nation’s most seasoned political strategists. Since his election, Trump has been portrayed as a one-off phenomenon that was the result of a mobilized populist base and backlash against President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states Ford taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing MORE. But perhaps the underlying discontent with our current system has reached a tipping point that is fundamentally changing politics as we know it.

We need to throw everything we thought we knew about conventional politics out the window. If the 2020 campaign cycle is anything like 2016, the most successful candidates will be the ones who make voters believe they will turn politics on its head. And if anyone can give Democratic voters hope that they'll bring a fresh outlook and set of ideas to D.C., it's Oprah.

"Drain the Swamp" isn't just a Republican rallying cry; it has deep connotations that speak for voters in both parties.

Kristin Tate is author of the upcoming book "How Do I Tax Thee?and an analyst for Capitalism.com. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBTate.