In a virtual town hall on Thursday night, Oprah Winfrey endorsed Democrat John Fetterman for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, effectively snubbing his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, whose TV career she helped launch.
This is a big deal, because Winfrey didn’t weigh in during the Republican primary—though Oz claims he asked her to stay out of it—and felt the need to speak up a week before the general election, where polling shows the race being extremely close.
The Washington Post explains the deep Oprah-Oz connection:
Oz, a medical doctor, hosted a show on the Discovery Channel in the early 2000s called “Second Opinion with Dr. Oz.” Winfrey appeared on that show as a guest. Oz was later featured on Winfrey’s popular talk show, rising to national fame after more than 60 appearances. In 2009 he went on to host “The Dr. Oz Show,” which was co-produced by Winfrey’s company, Harpo Productions.
The stakes in this race are massive, as the winner could determine if Democrats keep control of the Senate—and if Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gets the gavel again. People are, in a word, stressed. Online reactions to Winfrey’s endorsement ranged from relief, to frustration that it came so close to Election Day, to wanting her to also apologize for launching Oz into fame. This retort often comes from white people, and it’s not new.
Yes, Oprah could’ve weighed in sooner, like before the start of early voting—but she is not responsible for Dr. Oz’s decision to run for Senate as a Trumpy Republican. The people you’re actually mad at—the people who are the reason the race is so close—are white voters who like Republican policies so much that they’re willing to vote for a quack TV doctor who thinks “local political leaders” should be involved in women’s abortion decisions, whose research killed 329 dogs, and who gave a speech in front of Hitler’s car; or independents who believe both parties are equally bad, when one party is clearly threatening people’s health and lives.
Leave Oprah out of that conversation, please.