Friday, December 01, 2017

Ranking #Billionaires4President in 2020

Benioff for PresidentOprah for President
 Lyndon Johnson famously said "Whenever most Senators look in a mirror, they see a president.” The sentiment has been quoted, plagiarized and paraphrased by politicians and political pundits ever since.  Both Kennedy and Johnson were Senators before they were elected President and Vice President in 1962. While many Senators have run for president since Johnson served, none fulfilled that ambition until the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

In the wake of the election of Donald Trump, it's time to update that maxim:
"Whenever most billionaires look in a mirror, they see a president." 
Mark Cuban for President
And why not? After all, Donald Trump did it. How does a Mark Cuban look in the mirror and not think "If Trump did it, I can do it." Wealthy celebrities have expressed this sentiment directly. Consider Oprah Winfrey on Bloomberg:
“I never considered the question even a possibility,” Winfrey said about her pre-Trump thinking. “I though, ‘Oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough.’ But now I’m thinking, ‘Oh. Oh.'
Or consider Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at Vanity Fair:
“I wouldn't rule it out,” Johnson, 44, told Vanity Fair with a big smile ...“It would be a great opportunity to help people, so it’s possible. This past election shows that anything can happen.
Dwayne Johnson for President
I'll say it again. Why not? It is worth noting that presidential campaign strategists don’t have a lot of imagination. They mostly fight the last war. Whatever worked in the last election becomes the template for what to do in the next election – only bigger and better. And what worked in the last election is this: A rich, blustering, boorish, but successful huckster/entertainer with absolutely no political experience and limited understanding of governing, foreign policy, or the constitutional framework of the United States was elected President of the United States. That happened. And when that happened the pool of future President wannabes got exponentially bigger.

This is not an original thought. Across social and mainstream media you can find many lists touting billionaires and celebrities who look in the mirror and see the next President of the United States. Examples include CNBCPeople MagazineINC, Observer, and Newsweek. Some will indeed run. In the brave new world of the Trump era, how do we separate the contenders from the pretenders?
Liberal Celebrities for President
As a public service, the Dividist will take a stab at sorting this out. We'll start by culling a list from the vast herd of billionaire candidates being bandied about, then look at quantifying their chances. Important criteria for inclusion include wealth and... well... that's pretty much it. We won't look at whether they are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, as we can expect billionaires and celebrities from across the political spectrum to run.  We expect Republican billionaires to be crawling all over each other to challenge the incumbent President Trump in primaries (if he's still President) or Pence (if he is not). We also won't consider whether they themselves are saying that they will run. We know that three years out, all potential candidates lie about their intentions. At this stage, denial of presidential ambitions is a virtual confirmation that they will run.

Here's our Top Ten #Billionaires4President in alphabetical order:
Now we need to rank them. Our list is heavily weighted to Silicon Valley and the riches that technology wrought. For decades, one ubiquitous tool for ranking disparate technology companies competing for a specific market segment is the "Gartner Magic Quadrant". Companies are assessed along two axes and divided into four quadrants:


The upper right is good. The lower left is bad. We can adapt this methodology to sort out our presidential wannabes. The Dividist adaptation will rank the only two metrics that mattered when electing our last president - Money and Twitter followers. On a log-log scale it looks like this:


We'll add the numbers for both President Trump and Candidate Trump as a control group for comparison purposes.

Here's the data:
                                          #Billionaires4President



Candidates           Net Worth      Twitter      Followers
Donald Trump
 (Nov 2016)
$3,100,000,000 12,800,000
Donald Trump
 (now)
$3,100,000,000 43,200,000
Mark Cuban $3,300,000,000 7,590,000
Marc Benioff $4,500,000,000 958,000
Oprah Winfrey $3,000,000,000 40,000,000
Howard Schultz $2,800,000,000 0
Sheryl Sandberg $1,600,000,000 250,000
Mark Zuckerberg $71,000,000,000 194,000
Mike Bloomberg $46,800,000,000 2,120,000
Dwayne Johnson $190,000,000 12,200,000
Tom Steyer $1,610,000,000 107,000
Bob Iger $100,000,000 47,000


And here's the verdict:

Notes and Observations:

The threshold for making it into the Contender quadrant is $2 Billion net worth and 1 Million twitter followers.

We're still early. 2020 is three years away. There is plenty of time for our billionaire wannabes to improve (or lose) their position. Benioff is likely to clear the million twitter follower threshold in the next year and Sandberg's Facebook stock could propel her over the $2B barrier. It's likely we'll see prospective billionaire/celebrity candidates enter or fall out of the running. It's a start, but we can come to some conclusions immediately.
  • Mark Cuban has a chance.
  • Bob Iger should give it up. Not enough money. Not enough Twitter.
  • Howard Schultz needs to sign up on Twitter.
  • The Rock is going to need a few more blockbusters and a lot more money.
  • Michael Moore is right. The DNC needs to get Oprah on the phone.
  • Tom Steyer should set his sights lower - maybe California Senator or Governor. He'll lose, but it won't be so humiliating. 
Stay Tuned...

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