Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in Elizabeth Warren’s house as people went crazy over the prospect of Oprah 2020. I can only imagine Warren’s reaction. Did she yell at the TV? Mutter under her breath? Immediately call her media consultant in panic?
We know the slight got to her. By midweek she was making the rounds on cable. There she was, with Mark Warner of Virginia, reminding us of her existence, talking about God knows what, and smiling uncomfortably when asked, inevitably, what she thought of the Lady O.
Watching Warren and Warner, I had a vision of the next Democratic ticket. How ironic if Democrats, having lost to President Trump with a liberal woman and a boring Virginia centrist in 2016, respond four years later by nominating … a liberal woman and a boring Virginia centrist.
And how embarrassing for the two-dozen-plus Democratic officeholders mulling presidential runs that media and Hollywood would kick over the punch bowl in a mad rush to embrace as the party savior a billionaire TV star with no government or political experience and no discernable ideology or agenda. What Matthew Walther called Oprahysteria signified nothing less than Democratic leeriness and hesitancy at the coming primary fight. Crowded, aged, liberal, boring, and pale, the emerging 2020 Democratic field is no reason for excitement. Tossing Oprah into the mix livens things up.
But all that’s in the future. The midterms come first. Here, the Democrats are enthusiastic. They have many—some say too many—candidates. After Virginia and Alabama, the wind is at their backs. Trump remains unpopular. All that the Democrats are missing is an agenda. They need something to offer the public. Right now they have nothing.
Don’t tell me they have the Dreamers. Polls might show that legalizing the status of illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children is popular. But the fact is that the attention Dreamers receive from the media is remarkably out of proportion and intensity with their relevance to the everyday voter. When Pew surveyed public priorities a year ago, the top three items were terrorism (76 percent), the economy (73 percent), and education (69 percent). Immigration ranked fifteenth (43 percent) out of twenty-one options.