Battle of the billionaires brewing? Trump could meet his match in 2020


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Donald Trump is the richest president in U.S. historical past – however as he gears up for a re-election marketing campaign, the actual property magnate may find yourself going through off in opposition to somebody even wealthier.

The budding 2020 area of potential challengers contains no fewer than 4 fellow billionaires.

The wealthiest of the pack, by far, is former New York Metropolis Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The media mogul and gun management advocate’s web price is estimated at practically $52 billion, in accordance with the most recent Forbes 400 Richest Individuals listing.

That dwarfs Trump, whose wealth is estimated by Forbes at $three.1 billion (although Trump has claimed his web price is greater). Bloomberg often is the best-known of the billionaires eyeing a bid – and the most definitely to make the leap, given latest journeys to early-voting states and a public swap again to the Democratic Get together after years as an impartial – however a number of others have stirred hypothesis.


They embrace: Hedge fund-manager-turned-environmental-activist Tom Steyer (price $1.6 billion, says Forbes); former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (price $three.three billion); and investor and Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban (price $three.9 billion).

It’s unclear if any of them would determine to run. Whereas Cuban reportedly is flirting with a White Home bid as a Republican or impartial, the opposite three could be getting into a sprawling Democratic area that features high-profile senators and several other former presidential candidates.

At the very least on the Democratic facet, their immense wealth may quantity to a double-edged sword.

Like Trump, they might have the flexibility to self-finance – which might assist not solely flood the airwaves with commercials however assert their political independence from particular pursuits. Trump wouldn’t be the one one who may declare he’s not on the market with donors.

“What it might do is preserve you within the race rather a lot longer than anyone who’s not in a position to increase cash and it clearly permits you to get your message out, no matter that’s,” mentioned Adrienne Elrod, a Democratic strategist who served as senior aide on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign.

On the similar time, their wealth may grow to be a legal responsibility, as they search the nomination in a celebration the place all of the power is with the progressive wing.

“I feel it’s an uphill battle for a billionaire within the Democratic Get together in a method that’s distinct from the Republican Get together,” mentioned Neil Sroka, communications director for the progressive group Democracy for America. “It’s not essentially going to harm them, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly not going to assist them.”

Sroka famous the “revenue inequality” difficulty shall be entrance and middle within the Democratic major.

“It’s not as if it’s a cross to bear, nevertheless it’s one thing that they’re going to have to speak about and be forthright with all through the first course of,” he mentioned.

For now, Bloomberg is attracting essentially the most consideration among the many billionaires. He took a extremely seen swipe on the president over the weekend, with a blistering column for his media firm decrying Trump’s “recklessly emotional and senselessly chaotic strategy to the job.”

A former Republican turned impartial who returned to the Democratic Get together this 12 months, Bloomberg made stops within the early caucus and first voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire this previous fall, fueling hypothesis he’s gearing up for a White Home run.

“He’s carried out a number of good in his post-mayoral life together with his wealth and he’s espoused a number of progressive values as a part of that,” Elrod mentioned of Bloomberg’s efforts to battle gun violence and his vow to make local weather change the defining difficulty in 2020.

However she added that “the most important factor that’s going to harm him greater than his private wealth is the truth that he was once a Republican.” She mentioned that might be a “far greater legal responsibility” competing in “a really left-leaning progressive grassroots major.”


Steyer, in the meantime, has attracted consideration spending hundreds of thousands on a marketing campaign to question the president. The previous hedge fund supervisor – who’s mentioned he’ll determine on a White Home run early within the new 12 months – kicked off a city corridor tour this month in South Carolina, the primary southern state to vote within the major and caucus calendar. That tour may also deliver him to New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada, different early-voting states.

Steyer has additionally constructed up an unlimited electronic mail distribution listing by his “Must impeach” drive and NextGenAmerica, the grassroots advocacy group he created 5 years in the past.

“Once you consider Tom Steyer, the very first thing Democratic voters consider is he’s for impeachment, which isn’t a nasty factor, as a result of he’s in a position to get his message out and break by,” Elrod mentioned.

However she questioned whether or not the impeachment push would truly translate to major votes.

Schultz, who suffers from an absence of identify recognition in contrast with among the different uber-wealthy potential candidates, has employed a serious public relations crew and is predicted to crisscross the nation early in 2019 as he promotes a brand new e-book.

For any of those businessmen who enter politics, strategists say the message will matter greater than the cash.

“You’ll be able to deliver a number of large cash in, however we simply noticed in a few of our latest elections right here that that doesn’t imply on the finish of the day that you simply’re going to be the one together with your identify on the poll,” Zandra Rice-Hawkins, govt director of the New Hampshire-based progressive group Granite State Progress, mentioned.

In the end, a hurdle for these candidates could also be whether or not any of them can symbolize change in a celebration torn between the previous and new guard, after rallying behind Clinton in 2016 solely to see the institution selection narrowly lose to Trump.

“I don’t know that the Democrats are essentially curious about a candidate like [the billionaires] quite than anyone who’s youthful or who speaks to questions of variety or who’s going to run a way more unabashedly liberal or progressive marketing campaign,” Saint Anselm Faculty politics professor Christopher Galdieri mentioned.

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