Remember when Mitt Romney was criticized solely on the basis of his wealth and business success? There were certainly other issues over which one could disagree with Romney, or that might cause one to view him as a non-viable candidate, but his wealth shouldn’t really have been a problem. Yet his white guy richness was indeed an issue for many Democrats.
Now, there may be a seismic shift coming, because one Democrat is running for Senate, and his net worth is pegged at $1.6 billion.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
“Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer is aggressively exploring a run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer and is expected to make a decision within days, according to multiple sources close to Steyer.”
However, the LA Times notes that independently wealthy candidates have lost numerous times in the past:
“But California has a political graveyard full of neophyte millionaires and billionaires who spent large chunks of their fortunes only to be rejected by voters. Among them: former business executives Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Al Checchi, Michael Huffington and Bill Simon.”
Something to note about the LA Times‘ statement is the fact that each losing candidate mentioned was a Republican, save one: Al Checchi. And all it takes is one Google search for Checchi, and one can see that he ran as a “New Democrat”—essentially conservative on fiscal policy, and more liberal on social issues.
According to a CNN profile piece from 1997:
“As a candidate, Checchi fits the mold of a new Democrat, or a William Weld-style Republican…He favors investing more in education, using a 10% across-the-board cut in all state bureaucracies to pay for more teachers, more computers, more books, universal preschooling and after-school programs. But he’s also prepared to take on the teachers’ union with proposals to test teachers every five years and to expand charter schools. He was an opponent of Proposition 187, which cut benefits to illegal immigrants…but he would prosecute businesses that hire undocumented workers. His first ads call for extending the death penalty to cover serial rapists and repeat child molesters…”
Checchi was certainly not your classic Democrat, with many of his policies contravening very closely held Democratic institutions, such as the teachers’ unions. Checchi may have been a Democrat in name, but he was not a true blue member of the club.
It seems a Democrat–a real, abort-em-while-you-got-em Democrat—has yet to try his hand at running in California with deep, personal wealth. If Steyer—who was the single largest individual contributor during the last election cycle, spending about $74 million—decides to run for Boxer’s seat in 2016, the question remains: will the Democrats feel as strongly about personal wealth when it comes from a fellow man in blue? I’m no psychic, but I can very well predict the future in this case. If Steyer runs, suddenly white guy richness will be of little importance.
Just because I’m a nice guy, I’ll get the ball rolling in terms of possible spin tactics the Democrats can use when their glaring hypocrisy comes to light…
Huh, I can’t think of anything.
Oh well, I’m sure they’ll think of something.