Tom Steyer for President. “This is America. You get to nominate yourself.” That’s an original soundbite that I have been using for years. This time around twenty-five Democrats have nominated themselves for President.
One of them, California Congressman Eric Swalwell, has stayed ahead of the crowd by “denominating” himself (dropping out). If you can name the other twenty-three, (I’ve already given you Steyer and Swalwell) you need a new life; one without TV or internet.
But let’s focus on Tom Steyer for now. Tom is a billionaire hedge fund manager. His political brand involves writing large checks for eco-friendly Democrats. He is expected to invest up to one hundred million dollars in the 2020 race. So what happened? Tom looked at the other twenty-four Dems and decided he would rather invest in himself. Voila! Tom is now Mr. Twenty-Five. The significance of that decision should not be overlooked. Tom figured out what I figured out less than a month ago: none of the original twenty-four will get the Democratic nomination. Think about it. No killer bees (Biden, Bernie, Beto, Booker, or Buttigieg), no Elizabeth Warren, no Kamala Harris, no anyone. But someone’s going to get the nomination. Who’s left? I’m glad you asked.
My list of the “Second Wave” of self-nominations has nine names, including Steyer. This post is an early handicapping of which of them will have the dubious distinction of being beaten and beaten up by President Trump. Let’s go in reverse order of their chances of securing that prize, according to yours truly.
9. Gina Raimondo – Gina who? That’s why you have me, to keep you current. Gina is the reasonably successful Governor of Rhode Island. She’s pro-business, anti-wealthy, and riding the Trump wave of economic prosperity. How did she make this list? Recently, Tom Friedman, New York Times columnist, gave Gina a plug as someone who should take on President Trump. (Add Friedman to the list of Steyer and me who know that the current twenty-four are not viable). Gina clearly has kept her head on straight and has made no noises suggesting that she’s interested. If she were she would be way higher than #9.
8. Oprah – An internationally known, one-name, self-made billionaire with high approval ratings is a Dem’s dream come true. But Oprah has always known her brand. One step into the political arena and Oprah would become the lady from Target. Make no mistake about it. If Oprah wants the nomination it’s hers for the asking.
7. Michelle Obama – There are two things you should know about Michelle. Until recently the nomination was hers for the asking but she, like Oprah, did not have the stomach for the bruising of a Presidential campaign. Until recently? Yes. The Mueller Report was awful for the Obama Administration. The FBI’s Inspector General Report will be worse. Michelle is smart to stick to Vanity Fair and not the Drudge Report.
6. Tom Steyer – Now it gets interesting. After all, Tom is in; one hundred million dollars in. He’s already railing against the corporate interests whose money dominates our political landscape. I know. He’s laugh-out-loud funny. He’s spending nine figures to complain about too much money in politics. But, hey, look at the upside. What if he’s against Medicare for All and Open Borders? What if he’s a pro-business hedge fund runner? What if he runs ten million dollars of Centrist commercials in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina? And what if the top five “Second Wave” prospects don’t get in? It’s an inside straight but it could give Tom the nomination. Winning the Presidency? That’s a column for a (much) later date.
5. Howard Schultz – If you follow my columns you know I already wrote about Howard Schultz, Mr. Starbucks. So I’ll keep it short. If Howard Schultz keeps his pro-America, pro-business, up-from-the-projects themes and runs as a Democrat, he’s a contender. After all, with twenty-four Dems hugging the left field foul line and Schultz roaming free in center field, there is a lot of upside. If he continues to run as an Independent, he’s toast. After all, we already stopped hearing about him.
4. Mark Cuban – Nothing would be more fun than a Trump/Cuban slugfest. These two are smart, media savvy, TV personalities, sports fans, and billionaires. Nothing could match their ratings. Trump is President. Cuban wants to be.
3. Andrew Cuomo – Like his father he just can’t pull the trigger. Now could be the time. It’s like getting a do-over. The Governor of New York is always a possibility. And he’s not totally off the left cliff. With no one taking charge, you know Governor Cuomo is looking at it.
Now for the top two. One of these is quite likely to be the Dem nominee for 2020. Get ready:
2. Hillary – Nobody wants it more. Nobody thinks she deserves it more. Hillary still thinks the Russians did her in. She knows Donald Trump could never beat someone as smart as she. He’s deplorable and irredeemable. She’s the ultimate victim. I say she’s in.
1. Michael Bloomberg – The Dems will be begging for the former Mayor to get in. He’s smart, accomplished, another billionaire and a Manhattan Liberal. As Mayor he told New Yorkers how much soda they could drink. As President his Nanny state would be everywhere. And he definitely wants the job. He’s only not in because he understands the difficulty of beating President Trump. But after watching the inept twenty-four he’ll have no choice but to reconsider.
That brings us back to the beginning. The “Second Wave” is inevitable because the First Wave has self-disqualified. You heard it first here. 2020 is looking funner and funner every day.
Sid Dinerstein is a former chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. He founded JBS Associates, a 600-person financial service company, and currently combines politics and business with Niger Innis in Inclusive Elections LLC, a firm that brings urban electorate voters to the GOP. He is the author of "Adults Only: For Those Who Love Their Country More Than Their Party." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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