The attention around Oprah Winfrey’s stirring Golden Globes speech and dramatic emergence as a speculated candidate for president in 2020 took most of the most prominent black Democratic groups by surprise this week.
Some of their reaction to Oprah was tempered because they view Sen. Kamala Harris’ candidacy as more likely. The Oprah flashpoint underscored how a lot of the groups are preparing quietly for Harris; in private, these activists and donors are eager to talk about Harris’ affability and charisma; her record as attorney general of California; how popular she’d be in say, South Carolina.
But, Oprah (!) had many of them thinking about an alternate universe in which she is not their preferred candidate simply by virtue of the person she is. The national fawning over her speech had black Democratic groups scurrying behind the scenes about what to say, how to say it — and wondering if they should say anything at all. A Democratic strategist was more succinct: “They don’t want to step on Kamala’s toes.”