That’s the rumor swirling as the Founder of Facebook has made some interesting moves over the last couple months. He recently hired Joel Benenson, who was Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s former pollster, as a consultant for the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation – the foundation controlled by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. This move follows the hiring of David Plouffe back in January to advise the foundation. Plouffe is best known as Obama’s 2008 campaign manager. Plouffe and Benenson are two heavyweight Democrat strategists, and they don’t come cheap. In addition, the billionaire also hired Amy Dudley, the former communications adviser to former Vice-Presidential nominee Tim Kaine. Zuckerberg has claimed these hires are merely for research and development of policies for his foundation.
While he is only 33, Zuckerberg has stirred up speculation of Presidential ambitions, especially through his 50 state tour of technological entrepreneurship. This road trip has included hanging out at truck stops in Iowa, touring a Ford assembly plant in Michigan, and visiting Dayton, Ohio. Not exactly places that you’d expect an internet mogul to be researching for the next great technological advance. These locations all do share one thing in common though – these states gave Trump his victory over Hillary Clinton. Iowa also just happens to be the first state to vote during the primary.
So far, the Facebook CEO has denied any interest in running for President.
“Some of you have asked if this challenge means I’m running for public office,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page last May. “I’m not.”
Uh, huh. I’m sure he’d much rather spend his free time in Detroit rather than sleeping in his giant mansions or swimming in his private pools. Or as our own, Josh Hammer said:
He's a lifelong coastal elite spending time at truck stops in Iowa but denies he may run for president.
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) August 2, 2017
Worth $45 billion, Zuckerberg would not lack resources to mount a campaign. But the big unknown is what kind of candidate he would be. By that I mean, can he connect with voters? Does he have a message that resonates? Can voters relate to a 30-something Harvard drop-out, who seemingly lucked into $45 billion?
Obama and Trump both had the ability to connect with a large swath of the electorate. Does Zuckerberg have that? No one knows yet.
One thing we do know is that he’d likely be the second coming of Bernie Sanders if his recent economic remarks are any indication. During his commencement speech at Harvard this spring, he stated his support for a Universal Basic Income.
What is that, you ask? It means he wants the government to pay everyone a minimum wage no matter what – whether you get off the couch or not. Basically, it’s a guaranteed welfare check to everybody. He thinks this is the way to give people free time to innovate the next BIG idea. Yeah, right. More like incentivize laziness. And where’s the “free” money going to come from?
You may know this idea by its more common name – Communism.
I can already see Zuckerberg’s potential 2020 campaign slogans:
Bernie Sanders 2.0 2.0
Or how about:
From Each According To His Ability, To Each According To His Needs – Karl Marx Mark Zuckerberg
With an insane policy like this, I would like to dismiss his potential political future, but Democrats have proven the electoral success of promising people free stuff. And it doesn’t come any bigger than promising a free paycheck to stay home and do nothing. People WILL show up to vote for that. The only question is how many.
There is already speculation that Facebook’s massive storehouse of personal information could be the ultimate Get-Out-The-Vote database. Steve Deace of Conservative Review explained it well:
There’s no question Zuckerberg would start with a huge advantage – access to the likes and interests of most registered voters. Most campaigns spend millions to acquire a fraction of this kind of information.
Ultimately, a database is still only a tool though. Its real purpose is to make voter contacts and generate votes. You need campaign staff and volunteers to do that. On-the-ground organization targets voters through phone banks, door knocking, and literature drops at people’s doors. Personal interaction is how you turn a database into votes. It’s more than just Facebook ads.
That’s the value of hiring David Plouffe and Joel Benenson. They know how to build and execute a GOTV operation with a database like this. It would be extremely powerful in their hands.
This database would not be a magic bullet though. There are limitations to what it can accomplish. Ted Cruz had a WAY better database and GOTV effort than anyone else running in 2016. It helped get him much further than anyone anticipated, but it still wasn’t enough.
Databases can make the difference in a very tight race, but they don’t overcome big margins. Zuckerberg first needs to generate enthusiasm and interest in his candidacy before the database can come into play. No one knows if he will be able to do that yet. Only time will tell. This all assumes he runs. We are still 2 years away from the start of the 2020 primaries, which is an eternity in politics.
As things develop, we’ll have a better sense of what the future holds. For now, we have to wait and see.