Buying The Presidency

Do you remember back in the day, there used to be this saying that “any boy (never a girl) could grow up to be President of the United States”? I think it’s safe to say that saying is totally outdated.

First of all, we’ve got more women vying for that title now than ever before. Do you remember the first female candidate that was actually thought of as having a chance to win the presidency? This may surprise you. It was in 1964. Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican, became the first female to actively seek her party’s nomination for President. She failed, and that year Barry Goldwater ended up being the nominee. It wouldn’t be until 1972 that the Democrats, the party that views themselves as the most welcoming of women, would have their first major party female candidate in Shirley Chisholm. She also failed to get the nominee, that honor going to George McGovern, who rapidly became an after thought.

In this day and age, gender isn’t the only issue when it comes to running for the top job in this country. It’s money. Donald Trump, a billionaire, showed that you don’t have to raise a ton of cash in 2016, as Hillary Clinton outraised him big time. Part of the reason was Trump got an awful lot of free publicity in newscasts. Every time you turned around, he was bashing Clinton, and building himself up, and the media, thinking they were exposing a buffoon, covered every word.

Could this year be the year of the billionaire candidates?

It very well could. Tom Steyer, a billionaire in his own right has shot to second place in South Carolina, upending Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. How’d he do it? By spending $70 million of his own money, and concentrating not in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, but in places like Nevada and South Carolina. Want to know another billionaire who’s following a similar tract? Look at former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. He’s spent a whopping $110 million in TV ads in places like South Carolina, Nevada, and Arizona. He also isn’t going in for the early states, and has about 7% in the polls nationally.

As far as the polls are concerned, Joe Biden still leads by a wide margin, but what’s interesting is that in South Carolina, Steyer has jumped 11% to 15% since the last poll was taken there. That’s 1% ahead of Bernie Sanders, and 5% better than Warren. Biden has gone from 41% back in October to 36% now.

Now, I’m not saying that Steyer, or Bloomberg are going to win South Carolina, become the nominee, or do anything other than make headlines because of this poll. I’m saying I think the days of “any boy or girl growing up to become president” in this country are long past. If you have billions to spend, and don’t mind throwing a billion or two at the campaign, you certainly can make a case for yourself. If you are a normal Joe, you have a much greater chance of being more like Beto O’Rourke than Michael Bloomberg!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

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