Juan Williams, The Hill, February 26, 2018
The three strongest Democratic challengers to President Trump’s reelection are now all black women.
They are talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, former first lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has said Oprah and the “Me Too” movement pose an “existential threat” to the Trump presidency.
Obama left the White House with a 68 percent approval rating. She got a new wave of positive attention this month when record crowds showed up to see her newly unveiled official portrait at the National Gallery of Art.
Conservative columnist and Trump booster Ann Coulter confidently predicted last fall that if Harris ran, she would be the Democratic nominee.
A black female candidate would attract a lot of attention with a challenge to Trump. Ninety-four percent of black women voted against Trump in 2016 as did 69 percent of Latina women and 43 percent of white women. Women of all races have led the biggest anti-Trump marches.
April Reign, an activist who founded the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, worried during a recent NBC interview that the clamor for a black female presidential candidate could be a trap.
“Stop begging strong black women to be president: Michelle, Oprah, whatever,” Reign said. “It’s weird. And Lord knows when black women try to lead, y’all attempt to silence and erase us. So how would that work, exactly?”
Winfrey and Obama stand out among all these black women because their political strength is only a subset of their power as cultural icons.
They have fans among Republicans and Democrats. They attract people of all races. Their broad appeal, including among suburban white women, crosses the nation’s deep political divide
Even longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone recently told the Oxford Union that Obama would be the strongest Democratic candidate.
The then-first lady’s “When they go low, we go high” speech was one of the most memorable of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
The big question with Obama is whether she is willing to go low and put her family through another brutal presidential campaign.
Harris lacks the name identification of Winfrey or Obama. But California’s junior senator comes from the most influential state in Democratic politics.
Harris would have a strong claim to the deep-pocketed donors in Hollywood and Silicon Valley who helped fund her Senate election in 2016. The former state attorney general’s unflinching television interviews and TV grilling of Trump administration witnesses at congressional hearings have made her a national favorite.
It’s looking more and more likely that 2020 will be the year that a woman finishes the journey and shatters not one but two glass ceilings.