Billionaire businessman Richard Branson appeared on “Erin Burnett OutFront” last night to add his voice to the list of powerful executives condemning Donald Trump. Branson recalled a “bizarre” lunch he had with Trump years ago and said he was speaking out to let voters know that Trump was “dangerous,” “unpleasant,” and “unforgiving.”
“I think one day it would be wonderful to have an entrepreneur running the White House,” Branson told Burnett. “But not this entrepreneur.”
That got me thinking. Could an entrepreneur one day really become our President? Whether or not Donald Trump wins on November 8, his immense popularity over the last year has proven that the American people are willing to take a chance on an outsider. Last year a Pew Research Center poll found that 19 percent of Americans said they trusted their government all or most of the time; 55 percent of the public said “ordinary Americans” would do a better job of solving national problems.
The last time we elected a president who hadn’t previously held public office was 1953 with Dwight Eisenhower. Even then, Eisenhower was a five-star general of the United States Army during World War II — a major position in government. Never before has there been a Commander-in-Chief with no experience in politics.
I think it’s time to change that. There are far too many intelligent business minds in this country that could serve a higher purpose in the Oval Office. They could bring a new approach to solving issues at home and abroad; a new tone that I think our generation is craving in Washington D.C. Here are three candidates I think could do the job.
The rags-to-riches media mogul is no stranger to the political stage. In 2007 she backed Barack Obama for President. This June she publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton while simultaneously turning down Donald Trump’s offer to be his running mate.
Winfrey’s biggest impact has been her charity work. Over the years she has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to educational causes. Her foundation, Oprah’s Angel Network, has supported charitable projects, disaster relief efforts, and nonprofit organizations around the world. Oprah’s ability to influence public opinion through her television network and her philanthropy has been dubbed “The Oprah Effect”. No doubt she could positively influence the American people as a presidential candidate.
The co-founder of Microsoft is already a top contender in many voters’ minds. A recent poll found 28 percent of Americans would vote for Gates as President if given the choice. In that same poll, Gates ranked highest in competence among the 18 public figures surveyors were asked to categorize.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has worked around the world to expand access to healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. In the United States the foundation has advocated for education reform and has equipped public libraries nationwide with computers and software. In a March Reddit AMA, Gates said he liked his current job too much to run for president. But if he were to turn his charity work into a campaign platform, the voters would come.
The CEO of The Walt Disney Company may seem like an odd choice. But Bob Iger’s ability to turn an entertainment company into the world’s second largest media conglomerate is nothing to ignore. During his reign he helped acquire Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilm, three major deals that could have only been negotiated by a skilled executive. This is a man who knows how to make strategic investments into the future. Iger’s contract with Disney expires in 2018 leaving his schedule open for a possible campaign. He could be the Donald Trump that people were hoping for, a outside businessman with a presidential temperament.
We need to usher in a new voice to the political landscape. It’s time to start thinking outside the box and consider the idea that you don’t need to be a politician to lead a country.
* * *