Now that Hillary Clinton has failed to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming President, even after having the full support of the mainstream media and it appears the FBI, the question arises – who is likely to be elected as the first woman to be our Chief Executive?
Two women have made themselves very likely candidates to fill that role – Nikki Haley the former Republican governor of South Carolina and Ambassador to the United Nations and perhaps Oprah Winfrey.
Several weeks ago, Ralph Peters prefaced his comments about a vote at the UN by saying, “Well, let me preface it by saying I think Nikki Haley may end up as our first female president.” Peters, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, referred to Haley’s tough stance following the U.N.’s rebuke of the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The U.N. in a 128–9 vote overwhelmingly rebuked President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Haley’s strident response followed by President Trump’s announcement that the US is withdrawing $285 million in contributions the body has cemented her image as a definite presidential type.
Who might become the first female president became a bit harder to call this week after Oprah Winfrey received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globe awards. Her appearance and powerful speech led to an almost immediate flood of Hollywood type declaring that she should run for president.
NBC followed suit by tweeting, “Nothing but respect for OUR future president” accompanied by a graphic of Oprah. CNN quickly reported that the talk show host is “actively thinking” about a potential run, according to friends of hers. NBC later apologized for calling Winfrey “OUR” future president in a veiled attempt to retain its unbiased illusion.
If qualification is needed to be the chief executive of the most powerful country in the world, there is no question that Haley is the odds-on favorite to sit in the desk at the Oval Office. The President appointed Haley to his Cabinet as ambassador to the United Nations before picking James Mattis for secretary of defense and Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.
Haley was twice-elected governor of South Carolina and remains popular in that state. She is an experienced Republican politician in an administration filled with outsiders. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Nikki Haley stands out in an administration run predominantly by white men. She is telegenic and poised and has a knack for garnering the limelight.
Oprah Winfrey, on the other hand, has the fame and wealth that some political strategists say could make her a formidable Democratic Party candidate. But will her celebrity be enough to be trusted to take over the reigns of the largest economy and military in the world?
Progressives are quick to point to Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan as examples of celebrities who were elected to the highest office in the land. That is hardly a fair comparison. Trump had a message that resonated with the heartland and promised more than making people feel good.
Ronald Reagan should not even be in such a conversation. Yes, he was a b-actor at one point in his life. However, he also was a two time governor of the state of California, headed up a powerful union, and learned much in his two losing presidential campaigns before being elected on his third try.
The case for Winfrey’s running is obvious. She has a personality cult and fame that matches Donald Trump. Her story as the daughter of a housemaid in Mississippi who became a self-made billionaire with a media empire is well known and nothing short of inspiring. Oprah is also a philanthropist who has given away tens of millions of dollars and founded a charity that helped establish 60 schools in 13 countries.
A more important question is, do both of these women aspire to the office of president? In the case of Nikki Haley, there is little doubt. Even if doomsayers are right and those in Trump’s administration become tainted by association if he resigns or faces an unlikely impeachment, Haley is one of the few administration officials who would most likely survive.
Haley is also a member of the Principals Committee of the National Security Council. As a result, she is a regular contributor to the most important forum for Trump’s consideration in making decisions about national security and foreign policy matters. Even when in favor Steve Bannon was never elevated to anything close to that position.
“Everyone thinks that I’m ambitious and everybody thinks I’m trying to run for something and everybody thinks I want more,” Haley told CNN’s Jamie Gangel in the spring. “I can’t imagine running for the White House.”
However, Haley has spent the majority of her adult life in elected office. From 2004-2010 she served in the South Carolina state House and then served two terms as governor. The top of her profession is the presidency and it’s hard to imagine Haley not imagining a run for the office.
Winfrey has repeatedly denied any interest in public office. As late as January, when asked by Stephen Colbert if she had interest in becoming president her immediate response was “NEVER!”
In June of last year Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter: “I will never run for public office. That’s a pretty definitive thing.” But a few days ago when the Los Angeles Times told Winfrey that “the internet is saying Oprah for president in 2020” Oprah first replied, “I say, I’m just glad I got through the speech! I thought a lot about it. I wanted this to be a meaningful moment.” But when pressed as to whether she would run for the office Oprah paused and with a smile offered a cryptic, “Okaay!”
Needless to say, things should get very interesting in 2020 and 2024. One of those years it could well be that the only viable candidate up for election is a woman.