Floating your name as a potential presidential candidate has always been a good way to get attention in Washington, DC. But recently, politicians like Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain have turned seeking the White House as a vehicle to make a quick buck into an art form.
Plenty of implausible candidates have already suggested that they may run in 2016. Most are just looking for attention, or a quick fundraising boost. Some will pursue their longshot bids all the way to the (hopefully musical) end. But none have a prayer of actually reaching the Oval Office.
Here are the five fakest 2016 presidential candidates, so far:
Remember former New York governor George Pataki? Apparently, David Koch does.
As the New York Post reported on Tuesday, Pataki “is privately gearing up for a 2016 presidential run,” and huddled with Koch this week at the Four Seasons, presumably to discuss a potential campaign.
Of course, a 69-year-old, pro-choice, pro-gun-control moderate who hasn’t held office in eight years seems unlikely to capture the Republican presidential nomination. But pretending to run couldn’t hurt the fundraising efforts of his SuperPAC, which currently has only $5,946 in cash on hand.
“I will always be a servant to this great nation, and any way that God believes I can serve America, I will,” West told a crowd in Georgia. “We will see what he has in store for me, because I think he maybe is getting me ready for something else.”
Unfortunately for West, candidates who cite God as their campaign chairman have a pretty poor track record in presidential races. And West, who subscribes to all manner of crazy conspiracies, would probably be a tough sell to the American public.
But if West wants to aim a bit lower, maybe there could be a spot for him in the current administration.
Since her 2010 Senate bid ended in failure, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has kept busy stumping for Republican candidates and trying to end accusations that Republicans are waging a “war on women” (it’s not going well).
But as the National Journal reported last week, she may have bigger plans:
She’s been to New Hampshire three times and South Carolina once. She’s heading to Iowa this weekend, and then North Carolina and Michigan after that. Clearly, Carly Fiorina is thinking about 2016.
But is anybody thinking about Carly Fiorina?
The answer to that question is almost certainly no; her name recognition across the country is nearly nonexistent, and her losing 2010 campaign was basically the Mitt Romney “hire a businessman” pitch, but with weirder ads:
Then again, it worked for Cain.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that he will never actually run a campaign, Donald Trump is still pretending that 2016 will be the year that he finally steps up to save America.
Hillary Clinton surely has her fingers crossed.
Yes, former Alaska half-term governor turned vice-presidential candidate turned reality TV star turned drunken brawler Sarah Palin still wants you to think she might run for president.
“It sounds cliché, but you never say never,” Palin told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren in March. “Now, I — at this point in time, I don’t have a team of people, you know, getting out there doing these poll-tested whatever they do to let you know if you should run or not. I don’t have any of that kind of organization going. I’ll never say never.”
Even by the standards of this list, however, a Palin run seems particularly unlikely. After all, since dipping her toes in the 2016 water, she’s come up with a much lazier way to scam her more gullible supporters.
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