For those who have been following politics with a curious eye, it sure looks as though Mark Zuckerberg is making a run for the presidency.
The Facebook founder has traveled to far flung areas of the country, including some of the more crucial swing states. He has managed to visit 43 states in the last year and a half, and although Zuck (as he is called by his friends) denies that he is seeking public office, the activities in which he is engaging appear to be those of someone who has his sights set on the Oval Office.
Zuck has taken to a tractor in fertile Wisconsin fields, attended an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in South Carolina, offered words of support to Ohioans recovering from opioid addiction, donned his finest fluorescent attire for a trip to a Michigan Ford factory, hung out with local townsfolk in rural Iowa, stood with military leaders at Rhode Island’s Naval War College, and lent a listening ear to workers and small business owners in Maine. He also had a soul searching session with pastors in Texas, talked oil with drillers in Louisiana, paid a visit to a Mississippi Civil War site, and played basketball with North Carolina’s beloved coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams.
Zuckerberg has even hired a pollster for his charity, Joel Benenson, who used to work for the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign. In early 2017, he and his wife also hired former Obama campaign operative David Plouffe to handle policy and advocacy at their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a charitable foundation. Additionally, CZI has hired Bush 2004 reelection campaign manager Ken Mehlman, former Vice President Joe Biden’s press secretary Amy Dudley, and former President Obama’s assistant press secretary Jessica Santillo.
A provision in Facebook’s proxy statement, which deals with voluntary resignation, has conveniently been amended to include a key definition, "'Pre-Approved Leave' shall mean any leave of absence or resignation of the Founder [Zuckerberg] that is in connection with the Founder serving in a government position or office."
It bears mentioning that Zuckerberg is presently only 33 years old, but he will reach the requisite age of 35 in 2020 when the next presidential election takes place.
Ranked as one of the wealthiest people in the world, Zuckerberg has an estimated net worth of more than $70 billion and is easily able to finance his own sky’s-the-limit campaign. The platform that he created, Facebook, has more than 2 billion users, and 40 percent of Americans obtain the news of the day from the social media giant.
It just so happens that Zuck is not registered as either a Democrat or a Republican, and his views are often difficult to pin down. As a result he is sometimes described by media outlets as a liberal and at other times as a conservative.
To make the political point, back in 2013 Zuckerberg hosted his first ever fundraiser for a GOP candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. However, during the same year, the Facebook CEO hosted a campaign fundraiser for then-Newark mayor Cory Booker, who was a candidate in a New Jersey special Senate election.
Also in 2013, a number of liberal organizations boycotted Facebook in protest of Zuckerberg’s ads that were in support of oil drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline.
At the start of President Donald J. Trump’s tenure, Zuckerberg criticized the new president’s executive order, which temporarily prevented from coming to the U.S., immigrants and refugees from a limited number of designated countries.
Zuckerberg launched a further attack on the president's immigration policy while at a recent Facebook developer conference.
Perhaps related to the fact that in our country no avowed atheist has ever been elected to the Oval Office, former atheist Zuckerberg now says that he believes, "God is very important."
Examining the Facebook head’s wealth and high profile, combined with his political ambiguity, one cannot help but think about the quirky and erratic 1992 and 1996 third-party presidential candidacy of multimillionaire H. Ross Perot.
Perot drew a remarkable 19 percent of the vote in 1992 as well as 8 percent in 1996. His 1992 showing was the third highest in American history for a third party candidate and the top spot for someone who was not a former president. This result occurred despite Perot's dropping out of the race at the height of his popularity — and delaying his return to the political stage until October.
Perot was the primary factor in enabling Bill Clinton to ascend to the Oval Office, not once but twice. This phenomenon could rightly be called the Clinton formula.
To put it mildly, the Democratic establishment is less than inviting when it comes to outsider candidates. Just ask Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Despite his money and clout, Zuckerberg may find it difficult to deal with the DNC as well as the Democratic primary machine.
Still, the Facebook originator does have the ability to self-finance a third-party run if he chooses to do so. What it may mean is that the Clinton formula may be gearing up to be used once again in 2020.
This time Zuck would play the lead, the Democrats would play dumb, the mainstream media would play partisan hacks, and one more Clinton would quietly tiptoe right into the White House.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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