Professional politicians are bad enough. What about imperious Wall Street banksters and spoiled celebrities instead? Yesterday, writing for the Wall Street Journal, Liz Hoffman and Rob Copeland noted that Glenn Youngkin's unlikely win in Virginia is getting up the hopes of some of the most disgusting creatures crawling around Wall Street. Corrupt private equity scumbags have been bribing members of Congress; now they want to be members of Congress. Lowlife GOP scumbags from the world of greed and usury in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas and Wyoming are either running or contemplating running. "Political ambitions," they wrote, "are stirring again on Wall Street. More than a decade after the 2008 crisis cast financiers as national villains and obstructed their glide path to Washington, the political calculus has flipped once again.
David McCormick, chief executive of hedge-fund giant Bridgewater Associates, is considering entering the Republican primary in Pennsylvania for the Senate seat being vacated by Pat Toomey, The Wall Street Journal and others have reported. A native of the state and former U.S. Army Ranger who later ran a Pittsburgh startup, Mr. McCormick is working with two architects of Mr. Youngkin’s win in Virginia, consultants Jeff Roe and Kristin Davison, people familiar with the matter said. This week he put out an ad touting his military record and family Christmas-tree farm that all but declared his candidacy, while not mentioning his employer.
Robert Grady, who has spent three decades in finance, including as a partner at Mr. Youngkin’s firm, Carlyle, has told associates he has weighed running for Congress or Senate from Wyoming, people familiar with the matter said. Reached for comment at his Jackson Hole ranch, Mr. Grady said he had no immediate plans to run for office but that he was “very encouraged by Glenn’s victory.”
“Less intelligent but louder voices on the hard left and the hard right seem to have seized the microphone,” Mr. Grady said. “We need more substantive policy-driven people to get into the arena.”
Christopher Deluzio graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, served in Iraq, worked as a voting rights attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice and was part of the Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee with the United Steelworkers, fighting successfully for a union. He's not connected to Money; he's connected to People. He was endorsed by Blue America for a congressional seat in western Pennsylvania and this morning he told me that "We don’t need more billionaires in office, and we certainly don’t need more bogus TV celebrities just in it for themselves who think it might be nice to be called 'Senator.' Serving the public in office is a solemn duty, and I don’t take that trust for granted. I first took the oath to serve this country as a 17-year old-- I know what it means to serve selflessly, to fight for our democracy, and to put western Pennsylvania and our common good first. That’s why I’m running."
Hoffman and Copeland reported that several other professional capitalists from banister-world are also running or about to be running, like Joseph Konzelmann, a partner at TPG Capital who wants to run for Congress, venture capitalist Joe Lonsdale, "who last year moved to Austin from the San Francisco area, has quickly injected himself into the Texas political scene... Party bosses are eager for candidates whose personal fortunes could help fund their campaigns and whose connections could bring in millions more. On his way to winning the most expensive race in Virginia history, Mr. Youngkin put more than $20 million of his own money into his campaign and received donations from businessmen including industrialist Bill Koch, investor Anthony Scaramucci, private-equity executives John Hicks and John Childs, and energy executive Rich Kinder, campaign finance records show.
Inspired by game show host, Señor DJ Trumpanzee, celebrities of all kinds, wrote Marianne Levine and Sarah Ferris early this morning, are considered springboards into the U.S. Senate. "Five years after Trump went from celebrity to the presidency, some Republicans see his path as a blueprint for winning back the Senate. This campaign cycle, the GOP is coalescing around former football star Herschel Walker’s bid to turn Georgia red in 2022. Republicans are also signaling an openness to surgeon and TV host Mehmet Oz’s Senate campaign in Pennsylvania, another battleground state." They forgot to mention scandal-rich s&m rapist Eric Greitens of Missouri, who's had tons of media coverage.
It’s a far less traditional approach than making the leap from the House to the Senate. And while both parties have seen celebrities run for office in the past, Senate Republicans acknowledged in interviews that there is a connection between Trump’s election and other boldfaced names deciding to run without legislative experience. What's more, many are welcoming the development.
“Trump winning kind of showed, ‘Hey, anybody can do this,’” said Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a former college football coach elected in 2020. “President Trump opened the doors for a lot of people. He’s not a lawyer. He hadn’t been in politics before. He’s an outsider. So that influenced my decision.”
...Running as a household name certainly has its perks, particularly in a costly statewide race. Besides the obvious name recognition, they can raise money more easily-- or tap their own personal fortunes to fund their campaigns-- than their competition while claiming the “outsider” status often coveted in congressional runs. And with the wide reach of cable talk shows, already well-known candidates can communicate to voters fairly easily without paying for advertisements.
On the other hand, celebrity candidates can be unaccustomed to the intense vetting and media scrutiny that comes with running for office.
“I joke that the most expensive walk in Washington is from the House to the Senate,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), another onetime House member. “Celebrity gives you an instant attention, but it also has a downside. You have to prove that you’re more than a celebrity.”
Walker, for one, is facing questions about his marital history and academic credentials in the Georgia Senate race. Oz has to battle skepticism about his promotion of scientifically dubious remedies on his show, not to mention his Pennsylvania residency given his years living in New Jersey.
...There’s also the stark knowledge gap that virtually any candidate who came to Congress through entertainment or sports would confront when it comes to writing legislation. Longtime lawmakers warn that the resulting erosion of policy prowess could lead to further partisanship in a chamber that’s already bitterly divided.
“These celebrities don’t come here with an interest in legislating. They come here with an interest in grandstanding and getting TV clips, because that’s what they’ve spent their entire career doing,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who also began his career in the House after time in the state legislature.
“My worry is that as you get more people here who have no experience in cutting a deal, it makes a place that’s already pretty dysfunctional even worse," Murphy added.
That shift away from Hill deal-cutting practice could be dramatic in the next Congress: All five of the Senate Republicans who've announced their retirements next year are former House members, with collective decades of bipartisanship under their belts.
And the Senate GOP conference could see several new members with zero legislative experience. In addition to Oz and Walker, author J.D. Vance is mounting his own campaign in Ohio.
And when will the Republican Party run Kyle Rittenhouse for office? He qualifies as a celebrity in their world, doesn't he?
Lourin Hubbard-- running to replace Devin Nunes in the Central Valley-- noted that "A lot of politicians don’t come from a struggling working-class family like I do. My mom was a single mother who did her very best but we struggled with bills, medical debt, student loans, and affordable rent. How many of these experiences resonate with you? How many of these experiences do you think resonate with our current politicians? We need working class representation to reflect the urgency of the crises we are facing. And that’s what makes me different from the politicians we are used to. I have had to toil to create my own American dream and there is something that I have learned. The American dream is not about a society where government secures the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. The American dream is deeply personal. It’s about a poor kid that takes a job in a computer repair store and grows up to one day own a tech company. It’s my own mother who worked as an unskilled worker but through attending night school graduated and became a manager. It’s about individuals and families getting ahead through hard work, and growing old and being able to retire in security. The American dream is, a vision, a hope that every person living in this country can be given a fair chance to build a successful life. These are all things you come to value when you are not a politician. Our moneyed politicians and celebrities have never had to struggle to put food on the table, or face bankruptcy from medical debt, or answer the question-- 'If I had worked just a little bit more, if I could have earned a few more dollars to pay for my mother to go see a doctor, would she be alive to meet her grandchildren today?' I have asked myself these questions, and I know these struggles firsthand. We are real people, with real lives. We are more than just names on some spreadsheet in Washington. We deserve more."
Please consider supporting Lourin's and Christopher's campaigns here at the Blue America 2022 congressional page. Both are very different kinds of candidates that come out of celebrity or Wall Street; let's not let them be crowded out of our struggling democracy by the wealthy and the consultants the wealthy can rent.