Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently announced, on Facebook, that his New Year’s Resolution for 2017 would be to visit every state in the country (which inevitably would include the ones that voted for Donald Trump).
Many have noted that embarking on a cross-country road trip to visit “average Americans” is just the kind of thing people often do when they are running for political office, or considering a run for office.
Thanks to WikiLeaks, we already know that Zuckerberg has been reaching out to senior political operatives, including Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, in an effort to “inform his understanding about effective political operations to advance public policy goals on social oriented objectives.”
In the words of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, who reached out to Podesta on Zuckerberg’s behalf, the nerdy billionaire is “hungry to learn” about politics, and presumably eager to get more involved.
Zuckerberg has already teamed up with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to launch an advocacy group, FWD.us, to promote comprehensive immigration reform. The group recently joined forces with TechNet, an influential lobbying organization. Could a run for political office be the next step in Zuckerberg’s political career?
Some people think the answer is yes, or at least a firm maybe. Wired reports that Zuckerberg, as part June 2016 agreement to restructure Facebook’s stock, fought to include a clause that would allow him to retain control over the company in the event that he obtained a job in the government. The agreement also limits the Facebook board’s ability to prevent him from serving in government while maintaining his role at the company.
So it’s clearly something about which Zuckerberg has thought. At the very least, he’s keeping his options open. This past year has proven that gingery-haired billionaires with no political experience can win elections, even presidential ones. Given the current state of the Democratic Party, and the emerging field of 2020 candidates, they could probably do worse.
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