They have no chance to win.

So, why are they running?

I am thinking about the 20 candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination who participated in the latest round of debates.

Of course, several have a reasonable chance of winning the nomination: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and maybe a few others.

Most of the rest have a better chance of winning the lottery than winning the nomination, but in their minds there are still good reasons to be running.

For some it is a simple matter of building their brands. Take Marianne Williamson, for instance. She is the popular author of more than 20 new age Christian books. Her recent appearance on the debate stage got her renewed attention and a boost in book sales. Think what every other author would give to get the attention she has earned as a candidate.

Andrew Yang is a respected business leader in a narrow field. As a result of his candidacy and his good performance, he will not need an introduction when he puts together his next business deal. People like Warren Buffet will return his calls.

Others are in the brand building business too. But they have something else in mind — a new job.

It is different for U.S. senators (Warren, Sanders, Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bennet) who would be reluctant to give up their current high status positions for any other job.

Most of the others will be job seekers in November 2020. They know that should a Democrat win next year’s election, there will be hundreds of positions the new president will have to fill. Some of the current candidates will have an edge. They will know the new president. They have been on the stage together.

The new president, having observed his debate opponents will have an idea about what kind of people they are, how they react to pressure, whether they are trustworthy, and what kind of diplomatic skills they have. All this the new president, if a Democrat, will have learned about the other presidential contenders.

Similarly, today’s presidential contenders, by getting to know the eventual nominee and president, will know how best to frame a winning pitch to get a job in the new administration. Take for instance Pete Buttigieg. Most of us had never heard of him until a few months ago. But we have learned that he is smart, quick on his feet, articulate, trustworthy, speaks several foreign languages and has been a Rhodes Scholar and a soldier. He is cool and persuasive. He could be secretary of state or ambassador to the United Nations.

Julian Castro served as secretary of housing and urban development for President Obama. The new president may ask him to take that position again.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee may have staked a claim for the top job at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here are other possibilities: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, secretary of agriculture; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, secretary of labor; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, secretary of veterans affairs; former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, administrator of the Small Business Administration; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, secretary of interior; and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, secretary of housing and urban development if Castro turns it down.

“What about former Rep. Beto O’Rourke,” I asked North Carolina native and Washington insider, Walter Dellinger. He responded, “I’d tell O’Rourke to get back to Texas and run for the Senate again, and if he didn’t, he’d not get any job in my administration.”

When you ask again why there are so many candidates for president, just remember that most of them are really auditioning for some other job.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch.”

(5) comments

Mr. Martin,

I would encourage you to do a little research on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Take a moment and think about all the technology that has rising around us over many election cycles with no real mention of it's impact. Last go around would have been a good time to begin at least discussing the issue of technology's impact. Since we did not not discuss nor take any economical action this time it is imperative that it be part of the discussion and honestly we need to take action.

Other countries, Canada and most of the EU are working and preparing and even embracing what automation. We US citizens haven't got the urgent message. Our Media and politicians/government has failed.

Andrew, at his own cost, stepped up to accept the challenge after he was told someone must accept to get the message and action crashing down on Washington.

Andrew Yang's story is deeply American, I would say rivals Obama's story. Take a look at it. The media has not embraced his story. I believe Mr. Martin you should do your due diligence before making claims that Andrew Yang is in this for personal gain. On the Trail and sacrificing time away from his family for the betterment of us all. He is not targeting a group of people in America, not the young, the old, the employed, the homeless or the wealthy. He is looking to help America through what will be with out a doubt, troubling times ahead because as a nation we have clearly not been keeping up with what the rest of the world has been doing. Just take a look at our numbers in comparison with other industrialized and technologically countries, do some math, and see how we are failing in the world with no path forward...Healthcare and $15/hr. I do expect more from our government when they govern over a economy that is worth over 20 TRILLION DOLLARS.

This system is broken, and we bicker about details. We need a VISION for America. Andrew Yang is offering one and a budget to pay for it.

I implore you to take a look at him, his message and the people that have endorsed the idea of UBI, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Obama,

I admit, my attention was drawn to the idea of $1,000/mo. Once he had my attention, I listened and he is making the most sense. I stayed because I believe he is viewing our future holistically. I stayed because he inspires.

Yang Gang isn't here to help him sell books or get a job, Andrew spent his money and time building a non-profit helping people, businesses and communities. He says he wants to do that for the whole country. We believe he does. Many more will. I do wish, for the sake of our nation, many, many more do.

Automation is here and will only excel.

What's the plan?

[thumbdown] Why treat these candidates like they are seeking only secondary gain from election? Andrew Yangs anecdotes eloquently describe himself going to DC to ask how they plan to deal with an impending economic crisis that he sees on the horizon with Automation and AI displacing jobs. They had no response so he ran for president. He has two books on these issues. Before you say he's trolling for book sales, his books are available to stream online for free as audio on Youtube. His other policy platform if divisiveness in our society needing to be curtailed is also not being addressed. His platform of #HumanityFirst and "Not left, Not right, but forward" is not just a slogan. Its the fundamental ideology of his platform. All other dems fuel divide by focusing on identity politics or responding to Trumps inflammatory rhetoric he uses to gaslight certain topics. None of their responses offer viable solutions to problems. Every other candidate focused on calling trump racist but did not offer solutions for Baltimore. Shameful and dangerous. Many of the career politicians running should drop out but there are candidates that have issues that they're fighting for like: healthcare (Bernie), environment (Inslee), immigrants (Castro), love (Williamson), corruption (Gabbard). Please write a more thoughtful article instead of wasting your opportunity to provide thoughtful journalism.

Andrew Yang is running to win. And at the very least, he’s running to change the discussion to involve the problems that got Donald Trump elected. We’re in the middle of the greatest economic and technological revolution in the history of our country, and NO OTHER CANDIDATE IS TALKING ABOUT IT.

That’s why Andrew Yang is running for President.

I don’t know about other candidates you mentioned, but I can say without doubt that Andrew Yang is NOT running for president to gain some business interests. For one, he doesn’t have a business. He was the CEO of a non-profit organization called Venture For America that recruits and trains bright young college graduates to start businesses in cities like Baltimore, Detroit and St Louis and so on. He is running to win. He is bringing forward over 100 policy proposals that are unmatched by any other candidates. It is disappointing that you probably didn’t read on him when writing this article. Please do your research and write responsibly!

Andrew Yang is running to win, and more importantly fix the biggest issues facing our country. He is deeply committed to his vision for our nation. To accuse him of self promotion via presidential campaign is abhorrent. This is why people don’t trust journalists.

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