Why People Run For Higher Office
There is a man who once ran for president who is only remembered today because he once ran for president. Although he did not say it at the time, it was later revealed that he knew he did not have an Afghan’s chance of being elected, but he ran because he thought it would double his speaking fees. In the current political context, that is about as good a reason as any for the many people we never heard of who are exploring a run for the nation’s highest office.
Almost all the unknowns are Democrats, which suggests they think that after the present occupant, anybody can be elected. With a few exceptions, these people have not formally announced. They simply say they are exploring the possibility of running because so many people tell them they could make America great again. We also cynically suspect they figure they could also get some campaign contributions, which they will figure out a way to use in the next city council race. Not to speak of speaking fees.
Part of the lure of exploring higher office is that these would-be candidates always seem to get immediate recognition. As this rant was being prepared, the Miami Herald reported that among the unknowns who are exploring running for president is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a place nobody has ever heard of unless you follow college football. His name is Pete Buttigieg, and the Herald reported that he “received a full day of coverage from cable news networks and plenty of ink from news outlets when he announced that he was launching an exploratory committee this month.”
The Herald also wrote that closer to home, Wayne Messam, the little-known mayor of Miramar, a town in western Broward County, is testing the water. This man is little remembered as a player on Florida State’s 1993 championship football team. To be accurate, the report said he is “pondering” entering the race. Pondering is a preliminary step before actually “exploring” the idea of a candidacy.
Accordingly, we are pondering exploring the idea of exploring entering this crowded field, largely because everyone seems to want a fresh face, no matter how ill qualified, and we think we could make the country great again and attract some nice campaign contributions to boot. We are a rigid conservative, believe firmly in the constitution and its original intent, even if we don’t know what that intent was. We also believe in the nine commandments. The only one we doubt is the one against stealing.
Searching for something to set us apart from the many others seeking contributions to explore a run for the highest office, it occurs that we were almost born to explore. Both our high school and college were nicknamed the Explorers. It seems that back in the 1920s a Philadelphia sports writer thought schools named La Salle (there is one in Miami) were named after the man who claimed the Mississippi River for France. That would be René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (Bobby for short). He has a nice street named for him in Chicago. However, the schools are named for St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, founder of the Christian Brothers religious order, who came up with the idea of educating disadvantaged boys—a group into which we fit naturally.
That by itself should get us the support of liberals. We also favor Medicare and higher education for all. In fact, everything should be free, including cocktails in South Florida bars. That way we would not need to pay for anything and could do away with taxes. That should be popular with those with unearned income of $1 million or more a year. And those are the same people who ponder ways to blow their money and tend to support hopeless candidates just because they exist.
Finally, we will devoutly work to take money out of politics, with the exception of campaign financing. We would explore means of controlling the pernicious influence of money, with graduated tax exemptions for contributions to those pondering, exploring and ultimately actually running for the highest office in the land.
We can’t speak for all the other candidates, but we can assure our supporters that if we got enough money for merely pondering and exploring a race for the top, we would withdraw gracefully, and leave the world as the perfect place we know today.
Read this month's McCormick Place by Bernard McCormick.