I have a nice example on how people will always choose celebrities over good politicians.
In Belgium, there is this political party NVA, who used to say that politicians shouldn't appear in entertainment programs. This party also lived by it. They only appeared in political debates. Back then that party was small.
At the time, there was this popular politician Steve Stevaert, of an opposing (big) party. He always appeared at TV entertainment shows, and people loved him. They thought he was a very sympathetic. People voted for him because they probably felt close to him.
NVA saw that their (in my eyes politically correct) strategy wasn't working. So one of their major politicians, Bart De Wever, started to appear in entertainment shows. Now this guy had a hidden talent: he could make really funny dry jokes, and people loved him for that. Because of his entertainment value, all kinds of shows invited him.
Guess what, that political party became huge, one of the biggest in Belgium. People voted for him.
So unless there is a law that forbids politicians to appear in entertainment shows, I guess people will vote for the ones who appear in the popular media. Sad but true.
To everybody considering this a good thing (and even to those considering this a bad thing), I suggest reading Neil Postman's excellent cautionary analysis Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985 and subsequent revisions): basically he predicted that a 24-hour news cycle and bombastic personalities with debates framed in terms of fifteen-second sound-bites would result in politics becoming nothing more than a form of entertainment, and that citizens would begin to respond to it as such. That was with few-to-many traditional mass-media; with social media the tendency has become (counterintuitively) if anything even more heightened. It's a horrific state of affairs. Anyway, it’s a book I first read in 1998 and though written in the Regan years struck me as being unbelievably pertinent even to the world when I first read it, let alone now.
I remember that right after the Columbine mass-shooting in 1999 my best friend and I were sitting in his bedroom. We were late teenagers (18), expatriates living in Italy, getting our “international” news from the very first online news sources such as cnn.com and the bbc website. George W. Bush was clearly on track to become the Republican candidate and was equally clearly under the thumb of the NRA. I remember muttering that if the Democrats had any sense they'd deploy against him with a candidate with mass-market appeal... “Oprah Winfrey or Jerry Springer, and sod the consequences”. My friend, wise beyond his years, presciently remarked “Jerry Springer I shan't deign with a response, but Oprah Winfrey and the touchy-feely feel-good stuff of folks like Robin Williams is all that is bad about what is good about America... the day a party will nominate one of those to run as their candidate you'll know it's all over, the experiment of the Founding Fathers will have gone down the drain, it'll be the end of everything because the system will have the means but no incentive to recover”. Those words have haunted me ever since. I reminded him of that grim pronouncement of his just the other day (coincidentally the day Oprah gave that speech was also the exact same day he became a father) and he just looked at me with tired eyes that glasses over with sadness.
ridiculously how Americans are agitating for Oprah as the best chance to save us from Trump...just goes to show the sad state of affairs in US. Oprah and Trump are two sides of the same coin.
Guys, can we just, as a society, agree not to elect any more celebrities to public office.
I just want my next president to be boring. Just some dweeby guy/gal in a suit who isn’t part of some political dynasty, that went to school, studied hard and got a law degree, and served for a few years in a relevant public office, like governor or senator. You know like a normal politician. Or what used to be one.
The American political system for all its faults, is pretty good and maybe we should like try and do something normal instead of throwing a tantrum because the last guy tried to fix health insurance.
As an outsider I have always found it interesting Oprah has a huge gathering from her talk shows. While there are stories outlining her rise, I wanted to see some of her "best" interviews, especially during her early years. But Google or YT have not been very helpful.
Dave Rubin has a good take on a potential presidential run by Oprah:
If it's Oprah vs Trump 2020, I feel like we're rapidly approaching Fahrenheit 451 crazyland politics (just specifically the politicians, nothing else about the book).
Why is this on HN?
I'm no fan of Oprah or even know her politics but it's funny that when someone says "I'm considering a run for President" you can expect a queue of negative news articles.
Makes me wonder if they're sponsored by political opponents. I find it hard to believe that Slate had this story in the queue and that her announcement was simply a coincidence.
Or does the news media simply want to ride the Oprah for President wave?
I had no idea about some of the connections brought up in the article. All I had to say was lol. She is opposite of Trump but still share same attributes: outsider from DC, rich, and media savvy.
It's not really her fault that she took off with her unscientific stories. There definitely was an audience ready for it. People usually hear what they want to hear. Or so I'm told.