Poll numbers are starting to look ominous for Donald Trump, who surprisingly managed to remain an actual candidate for president from one of the two main political parties for a lot longer than anyone could have imagined. Trump himself admitted recently that he would bow out of the campaign if his poll numbers dramatically slipped.
That would be unfortunate. Not because Trump has anything interesting or useful to say about making America a better place, nor because of any of his unique policy plans that he has sparingly outlined thus far. It would be unfortunate because he is very, very rich. We need a billionaire president in America, regardless of who that billionaire is.
Bear with me here.
The American political system is increasingly allowing a small percentage of Americans who own the vast majority of wealth to gain absolute control of politics and policy. The ability of the ultra-wealthy — those worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars or more (single-digit millionaires would barely register here) — to influence policy, economics and the country in general is rapidly growing every year. This influence was supercharged by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, but the core trend has been in place for almost 40 years. Rising income inequality, concentration of growth gains in the hands of a few and stagnation of real wages for the middle class are some factors behind the dramatic increase in the influence of the ultra-wealthy over nearly every facet of American life.
The system allows for this outsized control without any accountability. The ultra-wealthy can purchase policies that benefit them by paying for the election campaigns of politicians who ostensibly are not serving their interests; in reality, billionaires’ interests are the only interests that are being served. The concepts of democracy and popular elections create an appearance of accountability to the people, but that accountability rests with politicians, who have little influence over the policies they are required to enact to keep themselves in power.
America is a country owned and operated by the ultra-wealthy. So instead of electing politicians hired by billionaires to push the agendas of the ultra-wealthy, why not elect the billionaires directly? The ultra-wealthy would be directly accountable for policies they enact, because they are now the politicians.
If people like Trump, the Koch brothers and others were elected to office, we would have the closest thing to accountability that we have seen in the last few decades in America. The people in charge of manipulating politics would be front and center for the public to scrutinize. The current system allows these ultra-wealthy players to hide behind elected officials who, though they vigorously deny it, will always be influenced by their mega-donors.
Let’s drop the middleman. America is a country for the ultra-wealthy. Let us accept that fact and elect them as our political leaders. At least we would have a chance to complain directly to the people who have the power to change the policies that affect us all. Under the current system, if the next president is not Trump, he or she would have raised a billion dollars to be elected and would spend the next four years paying back monetary favors while telling us that he or she is not, in fact, paying back those favors.