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Building the war chest: The real reason so many Democrats are running for president



Building the war chest The real reason so many Democrats are running for president

Does Eric Swalwell really believe he has a chance of winning? What does John Hickenlooper bring to the table that 23 other Democratic candidates do not? Have you ever heard of Wayne Messam? The answer to these three questions is likely “no,” which makes many of us ask another question: “Why are so many Democrats running for president?”

Some think they can win. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and a few others believe in their hearts they have a legitimate chance. Others are running for the sake of a potential future post. Cory Booker would make an interesting running-mate for Warren just as Bill de Blasio sees a cozy cabinet position in his future. But the biggest reason those with zero chance (most of the field) are running for the nomination comes down to one thing: Building their fundraising war chests.

Being able to pull from a national audience can be appealing to someone on Capitol Hill, a former governor, or a mayor of a mid-sized town because the funds they raise can go towards many things once they drop out of the race. It can go toward their reelection if they’re still running for the same position next time. It can fuel their rise in a different race. It can even go to charity, and often times the charity of choice is a “foundation” they may be directly associated with.

Unlike the good ol’ days when campaign funds were essentially a retirement slush fund, politicians can’t directly gain from their war chests. But that doesn’t mean the money doesn’t help them. It helps them through their political careers and can help them in their post-political careers as well. There are few limitations on how campaign war chests are to be dispersed following a failed campaign. The most common practice is to use the money for a future run. But there are other ways the money can be used to benefit the former candidate.

Corruption in political fundraising is an art. Building one’s war chest is a ticket to many doors in the future. The majority of Democrats who don’t have a chance aren’t delusional. They’re just taking advantage of the system.

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