When I was a kid, the common question for those of us who were doing poorly in school was, “Don’t you want to grow up and be president some day?”
That very question came out of my grandmother’s mouth more often than I could count. Little did she know, or could she foresee, despite my horrible academic performance from the fifth grade on…becoming president wasn’t all that tough.
When my grandmother was spouting those words, some electoral college, or something like that elected the President of the United States. Those seeking the office spent millions of dollars over the span of eighteen months in a bid to win it. Millions for a job that only paid $400,000 a year.
Great money for a schmuck like myself, but back then, most of those people were already wealthy. Some beyond even my wildest imagination. Throughout America’s history, most of those who sought the office were seasoned politicians. Former state governors’ looked at it as the next step; often a senator ran for the office and won. Occasionally a war hero from some world war, or global conflict rode a wave of popularity into the Oval Office.
On a couple of occasions, some business leader would step in front of the TV cameras and declare that it was time for a change in America. Ross Perot made an unsuccessful bid in the early nineties. While Donald Trump did the same about midway through the second decade of the twenty first century.
During these campaigns, there was a lot of discussion about the experience needed to run the country. As though winning debates in the well of the Senate, or making bets with your neighboring governors over championship games prepared you for the job.
Mid way through the twenty first century, a new kind of player entered into the bid for President of the United States. The first instance was the sole winner of a $490,000,000 million dollar Powerball lottery. He was an amiable man, who was family-centric. He was also a very smart man.
James Winston called a press conference several months after the media hoopla from his Powerball announcement died down. With his wife at his shoulder, two teenage sons on her right, and his adult daughter on his left, he stepped up to the mic, and said.
“My family and I have decided…the best use of our great fortune, our winnings from this year’s Powerball winnings, is to make a bid for change. I am putting my hat in the ring for President of the United States.”
The media around him erupted, and the questions came in a torrent. What set his campaign on the right path was the way he handled the now unfriendly media. America immediately fell in love with him, and that love did not waiver. Not even after four years in office and a successful bid for a second term.
Later, as he neared the end of his second term, Dean Houston of Washington Internet News asked him. “How much of your lottery winnings did you spend for your first bid at this office?”
The interview was taking place in the oval office, streaming to devices, and smart wall displays around the world.
“I spent about $25,000 dollars on the first ads, then the money started rolling in.” He looked at the camera, the look on his face showing he was still amazed at the prospect.