Rachel Maddow identified a new front in the skirmish between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Turns out, it’s a battle for the soul of Oprah.
On her show Friday, Maddow reported on Mike Bickle, the extremist Christian pastor who endorsed Cruz. Among Bickle’s more flamboyant beliefs is the notion that Oprah is a harbinger of the End Times. She’s a “classy woman, a cool woman, a charming woman, but has a spirit of deception and she is one of the clear pastors, forerunners to the Harlot movement,” Bickle has said.
Conversely, Trump has expressed over the years his fondness for Oprah, semi-seriously floating her name as a potential VP pick. “I like Oprah,” he said in June, “what can I tell you? She’s great, she’s talented.” He added: “I’d love to have Oprah. I think we’d win easily.”
And so there you have it. In the clownish cosmology of the GOP primary race, Oprah is either VP material or media Mephistopheles.
So in what is turning out to be kind of a Donald Trump/Ted Cruz death match, at this stage in the 2016 presidential race, one of the fronts of battle turns out to be Oprah Winfrey. I mean it’s a pretty clear distinction, right? Harbinger of the Antichrist or possible running mate? Choose.
In the classic Maddow tradition, this is a goofy hook that helps drive home a couple relevant (if well-worn) points. One is that Trump is treating the election like the world’s greatest reality show (which it may well be). The other is that Cruz has been quietly collecting the endorsements of far-right Christian extremists, whose stated convictions form a constellation of harrowing views on women’s rights, marriage equality, and the role of religion in government. And it bears repeating that these men are leading the race for their party’s nomination.
According Sen. Lindsey Graham, having to choose between the two is “like being shot or poisoned.”
“I think we should let Oprah pick,” Maddow said.
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