opinion

'Why the last thing we need in the White House is another celebrity.'

If you’re part of the 75 per cent of Australian women who dislike Donald Trump as the US President, chances are you’re not thrilled a TV star egomaniac is sitting behind the most powerful desk in the world.

When the 71-year-old first announced he would be running for the presidency in June 2015, the Left exploded with laughter.

How could The Apprentice and Miss Universe boss consider himself fit to lead the world’s most powerful nation? He’s an entertainer, not a politician! He might be worth US$3.5 billion – kick started by “a small loan of one million dollars” from his father when he was a young man – but that doesn’t make him a suitable candidate, does it?

It took billions of people almost 18 months to learn that apparently, yes, it did. The reality that an eccentric (crazy) celebrity had won the election was so stunning, we were nursing the grazes on our jawlines until the January inauguration.

Listen: Mia Freedman speaks to Anne Helen Petersen about the unruliness of Hillary, Trump’s White House, and why he’s closer to re-election every day. (Post continues…)

As the President’s first year in politics unfolded to look more like a circus with a revolving door of monkeys, progressives pointed their fingers and proudly said, ‘Told you so’. Trump’s oddly genitalic taunts about the North Korean leader’s nuclear weapons directly contradicted his self-assigned label of “very stable genius“, of course, and the Left was all too keen to highlight that Trump’s inadequacies in the Oval Office are largely because what he boasts in male bravado and fame, he lacks in experience.

Experience. The exact quality we said made Hillary Clinton the ideal candidate.

For those who value reproductive rights, health care and equality, Trump’s lack of experience for the role was – is – baffling; akin to applying to be the CEO of a finance company with your grade-three pen licence.

A celebrity presidency has been such a distraction, important matters pertaining to the White House have been overlooked in favour of clicky, meaningless drivel with a 140-character limit. Trump’s orange complexion, hair, hands, unruly ex wives, and Twitter account are all more interesting, bemusing and digestible to the public than him reversing Obama-era education policies, intervening in the Middle East peace process, implementing corporate tax cuts, and moving towards even harsher mandatory minimum sentencing for low-level drug offences.

To us, Trump has always been an entertainer. A one-man spectacle. Someone to roll your eyes at. A person whose photograph belongs in the sugary celebrity pages more than the sobering political feed. Now he appears in both simultaneously, making the last 12 months of American politics more chaotic and confusing and scary than any in recent history.

What the US and the world needs is not more celebrity chaos. It needs efficiency, a steady hand, a reliable driver – and as much as, after Monday’s glorious Golden Globes speech, our hearts might want Oprah Winfrey to be that person behind the wheel, we need to take a breather.

This is not to say Trump and Winfrey are even remotely alike. One boasted about grabbing women by their vaginas, while the other created an “Angel Network” that saw US$80,000,000 donated to non-profit organisations around the world.

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But being a cultural leader and a political one are not the same thing.

Image: Getty

Winfrey - so famous she is known by her first name alone - might have shown she is a marvellous communicator, television personality, philanthropist and businesswoman in the 35 years she's spent in the public eye, but what remains unclear is her ability to lead a political party.

As Trump has demonstrated, the skills necessary to build healthy television ratings and stable leadership do not neatly align. Loving Oprah's personality, her commitment to philanthropy, dazzling charm and ability to deliver a rousing speech, in no way guarantees she's the person to lead the US. Oprah's the glittery, heart-warming, nostalgic option... but that doesn't mean she's the safe pair of hands to guide America out of Trump's House of Horrors.

Not when there are so many people with the experience and political expertise in public policy and government affairs to knock Trump and his penchant for distraction off that pedestal.

The prospect of a female president may not be too far off either, if the likes of California Senator Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren throw their hats in the ring; capable women with decades of political training and experience behind them. Women who have worked tirelessly and vigilantly in the field - who know what they're doing, and have shown they can take the wheel.

In conflating entertainment and politics, the world has found itself tumbling down the most perilous terrain without a map or airbags. The last thing it needs is another driver who has never encountered the road before.

Listen: Mia Freedman and Chas Licciardello take stock on Trump's first year. They talk Javanka, sexual harassment, North Korea, Scaramucci, Bannon, Alabama and more below:

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