Boston, MA– He may not yet be a household name, but that could change. Representative Seth Moulton of the 6th congressional district of Massachusetts is considering a run for President.
He's 40-years-old, has been a congressman for three terms, and recently booked an appearance at the Politics and Eggs breakfast series at the Bedford Village Inn. It's a routine stop for presidential hopefuls. So although he has yet to announce a run, there's a lot of evidence suggesting that he does indeed have 2020 ambitions.
There's this scheduled visit to the Bedford Village Inn. And recently, his spokesman said: "Seth has said he's seriously considering running for president and will announce his decision by the end of month." And, oh yeah, he was also seen taping a video for his presidential campaign, as reported by Axios. It could be a matter of days before Moulton officially announces his candidacy.
Moulton, a native of the North Shore and current resident of Salem, also served in the Marines for seven years. He's got a good history of serving his country, and his economic and social views line up nearly perfectly with mainstream democratic views, but...what's the point?
It's a question that I, and many others, have wondered about the growing field of presidential candidates. According to Ballotpedia, there are: "Twenty-one notable elected officials and public figures—19 Democrats and two Republicans—have entered the race or formed a presidential exploratory committee." Does every single one of those Democrats truly believe they have a chance to win? If they don't, what other reasons are there to run?
Before I continue, the election of President Trump could be used as a retort. He was completely an outsider; there was no reason for him to run. Some have proposed that he himself had no expectations of winning. And yet, he won.
Since there can be only one POTUS, everyone else who announces a campaign for president, loses. You wouldn't take those odds in any other circumstance, so why do we see so many candidates? Some ideas:
- People run because they sincerely think they can win. Barack Obama was a young, relatively unknown senator from Illinois when he first lit up the presidential race with a stunning speech at the DNC convention in 2004. Still, no one expected he would win the presidency, and he did. It's possible that every single person who has ever run for president truly believes they are destined to win, that they have something no one else does, and that they will be president.
- To take a more cynical view: people run because it raises their national profile. There's a lot of press about people who announce a run for president. People take a serious look at their political record and elevate them to the level of the national conversation. Overnight, they become recognizable figures. In future local races, they'll always be introduced as "former presidential candidate..." It just looks good on the resume.
Now, it's true that #2 doesn't always work out that way. Candidates' pasts, personal, financial, and political, are meticulously vetted, and the race is not kind to some. (Remember Marco Rubio's luxury speedboat?)
But if you don't have skeletons in your closet, and you don't pull a Rick Perry, you might emerge victorious, without actually winning the presidency.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff