Former Starbucks Coffee CEO Howard Schultz’s nascent run for president — which is quite possibly based in his willingness to re-elect Trump to avoid paying more in taxes — is teaching us all a lot about why some people shouldn’t run for the highest office in the land. Schultz’s roll out has been an utter disaster, with the bean mogul making unforced error after unforced error, picking fights with the wrong people and getting ratioed both on Twitter and in real life.
Schultz is only the latest egomaniacal American businessman to overrate his personal appeal and try to take a fantasy version of himself to the Oval Office. There are so many reasons that most, if not all, wealthy, powerful people shouldn’t run for office, let alone for president, including but not limited to toxic narcissism, hubris, and stupidity. And yet every four years, a number of awful individuals come crawling out of the mire to try to get the American people to like them and put them in the White House. It’s a tradition as American as apple pie, or systemic oppression..
With that in mind, here are some of the worst possible candidates for president in 2020.
This one might happen, at least at some point — Mark Cuban is a perennial maybe, and before you think that counts him out, so was Donald Trump. Mark Cuban’s ego is immense, and he’s already famous — he’s on Shark Tank, owns the Dallas Mavericks, and is generally not afraid to say what’s on his mind even if it’s stupid, much like our current president.
But if Cuban did run, it’s hard to overstate what a nightmare of a bore it would be. Campaign rallies with introductory speakers from Shark Tank, Cuban calling in every celebrity favor he’s owed from every investment and/or appearance he’s made just to get more exposure. It would be Cuban vs. Trump for attention on the airwaves, a news cycle that would make our current waking nightmare a distant, joyous memory.
At least Cuban, by virtue of the fact that he occasionally consorts with the unwashed at American Airlines Center, is more keyed into reality than Schultz and likely understands the tenor of the current political discourse which is, ah, not friendly to billionaires right now.
To be fair, this one could happen this cycle though it likely won’t; Clinton’s has apparently been telling some of her friends she’s still open running in 2020 and others she won’t. Who knows. If she did run, though, it would be an utter disaster. She’d effectively be running on fumes of rage; most of the members of her 2016 team that actually knew somewhat what they were doing have already been snapped up by other Democrats like Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand. So assuming she did run, Clinton would be drawing staff from a field of people like Mark Penn and Robby Mook.
While watching those two failures torpedo another campaign would lead to much laughter, the energy-suck of a Clinton run in the Democratic primary would be absolutely exhausting. Only the most deranged people are calling for this anyway.
If Hillary were to run she would immediately be my candidate, but I don’t think she will. I’m not fully decided yet, but I’m gonna keep donating to Kamala— JeremyIstanbul (@witliftin) January 24, 2019
Joe Biden/Mitt Romney
The Great Unity Ticket is a quadrennial fetish play for the Washington pundit class, who dream of the ultimate in bipartisanship with two good, sensible politicians running together on a ticket that likely ends up being dominated by right-wing talking points.
Most recently, the punditocracy floated a ticket of Mitt Romney, — a man who would have once literally licked the soles Trump’s shoes clean in order to become secretary of state, and Joe Biden, one of the most memorable images of whom from the past decade is a 13-year-old-girl wriggling away from him with a look of utter revulsion on her face.
Yes, this unity ticket isn’t going to happen, though Biden will likely make a quixotic shot for the Democratic nomination (if he wins a single state other than Delaware, I’ll be amazed). But even just thinking about it is enough to turn your stomach... out of boredom.
That a tech billionaire will one day run for president is inevitable. Let’s assume Amazon’s Jeff Bezos doesn’t want to go through possibly the most expensive divorce in history while running for president, that mogul of all kinds Marc Andreessen is more interested in consuming alt-right literature, and that the guys running Alphabet want to remain in control of their all-powerful entity rather than downgrading to controlling just the U.S. That leaves us with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has expressed interest in the Oval Office before.
Zuckerberg would probably already be in the mix for this year if it weren’t for the near unprecedented hit of bad press his company’s taken over the last two years. It seems every time you turn around there’s a new Facebook-related scandal, and Zuckerberg’s unblinking eyes hasn’t done much to help matters.
Though there’s already been a barrage of reports this year about yet more privacy violations and data hacks for Facebook users, Zuckerberg has stayed largely under the radar, though his most recent mention in the news comes via Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who claims Zuckerberg is now slaughtering his own goats and feeding them to his guests.
If the entry into the race of another billionaire would fill the airwaves for weeks with takes and analysis, this is just the kind of weird I want. So, I take it back, Mark. Please run.