This is something you hear about occasionally, but it’s often dismissed because most people simply don’t stop to think about it. However, if you’re a minor league public figure there’s one thing you can do to greatly improve your chances of getting rich: run for President.
Suddenly, there are cameras and reporters everywhere. Especially if you’re inclined to make strident, delusional policy statements like building a wall between our nation and Canada. That’s sure to make your numbers rise.
Let’s take Mike Huckabee as an example. In 2008, before running against John McCain for the Republican primary, his net worth was estimated at less than $700,000. After losing to McCain, he began a lucrative public speaking career, wrote a few books and began hosting a radio show. Today his net worth is estimated to be as high as $23 million. Huckabee recently moved into a $3 million home in Blue Mountain Beach, Florida.
And then there’s Scott Walker. Several sources say that not only does Walker have very little net worth, but in fact may be tens of thousands of dollars in debt. He’s also taken on enormous student debt for his kids. Bernie Sanders certainly stands to gain from his newfound national celebrity, but somehow I just don’t think Bernie’s in it for the money.
Just for the sake of argument, let’s say that Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Walker both know – at least deep down – they have no chance whatsoever of becoming the next President. Suppose they made the choice to run solely because of the potential economic gain. Call it capitalizing on the very weird system that’s American democracy today. It’s not illegal. It may even be smart.
But it’s certainly disingenuous to say the least – think of all the speeches they’re giving about ‘doing what’s best for the American people’. In truth, they probably enjoy the attention – at least while it lasts.
One more example in this category could certainly be Sarah Palin. Her net worth skyrocketed after being teamed with McCain as his running mate. But with Ms. Palin, I’m not so sure. She may have actually been crazy enough to think they could win. Huckabee, Walker, Rubio and believe it or not even Donald Trump all know that massive exposure is very good for their personal brands. In fact, Trump may understand it best of all.
It’s something to bear in mind as the ‘race’ continues. Who wants the job, and who just wants to see a few more zeros in their bank account? Money doesn’t just elect Presidents today. It also gives the losers a chance to join the one percent.