Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may not be the only billionaire considering getting into the presidential race. Bloomberg’s golfing buddy and Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack has reportedly assembled a team of advisors and is weighing the feasibility of running for president as an independent. No, seriously. As Politico reports:
Various messages were presented to a focus group in southern Wisconsin this week centering on the billionaire businessman, along with possible three-way match-ups against Donald Trump and Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren.
The focus group, according to a source who took part in the testing, ran through varying themes involving Stack and heavily focused on his example of “showing leadership” by halting the sale of assault-style rifles at all of Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in the wake of the high school massacre in Parkland, Fla.
Stack also recently released a book touting his company-wide gun ban as well, though it hasn’t exactly raced up the bestseller lists, which might be a sign that there’s no real base of support or even fandom for Ed Stack. Sure, gun control activists may appreciate him for destroying millions of dollars worth of of firearms, but if they’re looking for an anti-gun billionaire, why wouldn’t they back a Bloomberg bid for president? He’s the king of anti-gun billionaires, after all. Ed Stack will only ever be the prince of prohibition.
For what it’s worth, a spokesman for Stack told Politico that he has no plans to run for office. That might be a recent development, given the fact that focus groups were testing messaging this week. It sounds like it didn’t go all that well for Stack.
“[Focus group members] mentioned that if Biden’s getting the criticism that he looked old, Ed Stack didn’t look young either,” the participant said, adding that some felt Stack “didn’t have the charisma it would take to attract a coalition that you’d need to have a chance as a third-party candidate.”
The session concluded with participants asked to vote on sample ballots that matched up Stack, Biden and Donald Trump and then Stack, Elizabeth Warren or Trump.
Politico doesn’t say what the results of the balloting were, but I imagine if respondents had overwhelmingly picked Stack over Biden, Warren, and Trump we’d have heard that little detail.
I think we can chalk this up to an exercise in ego and hubris, and I consider it unlikely that Stack will get into the race. Heck, he may just use this Politico story to sell a few more books and to try to push his corporate gun control policies in a few interviews. I think it’s far more likely that instead of actually running, Stack ends up donating a pile of cash to candidates that will back his anti-gun agenda. He’s already demonstrated his willingness to destroy millions of dollars in inventory in his anti-gun crusade. If he donates millions more from his billion-dollar bank account he won’t even have to answer to any Dick’s stockholders upset about his anti-gun ideology influencing the publicly traded company’s business practices.