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I would love to see Jeff Bezos run for President in 2020. The trust he has built in the Amazon brand, the value he has placed upon investigative journalism and the survival of the free press, his deep knowledge of and interest in technology, his (presumed) familiarity with U.S. tax law, and the enormous success he’s achieved as a businessman would all work in his favor. I think Donald Trump senses this, and that’s why he singles Jeff out for criticism.

The very last thing we need is another megalomaniacal billionaire handed the reigns to an excessively powerful executive apparatus.

People need to remember that billionaires are not your friends. The only thing that can improve society is concerted, collective action. The fetishization of hyper-competent business leaders as the solution to society’s problems is a quasi-fascistic fantasy; it’s of a piece with a yearning for a “strongman” or those thinkpieces that glorify Singapore or the CCP’s supposed technocratic excellence.

That's really not the only thing that can improve society. Singapore, as you note, improved without it. Well, many places have. You may not like the consequences that come about from a quasi-fascistic techno-reactionary government, which is fine. On the other hand, there are benefits to such systems. If Amazon owned Seattle, do you think there would be such filth and homeless squalor throughout the city? Or the daily opioid deaths on our streets. Would Bezos be okay with that? How about our traffic? It is funny to me that a city with perhaps the top logistics talent and management in the world has an ineffectual transportation system due in part to the challenges of collective action and the biases in underfunding public goods endemic and researched in the study of the interaction between representative government, taxation, and investment.

Don't misinterpret me as advocating for that world, radical change tends to do more harm than good. But there is nothing wrong with holding a clear view of why people find it an enticing proposition. It's a little intellectually dismissive to just call it some base fetishization or fantasy. Or at least that's how I interpreted your comment, perhaps my interpretation was uncharitable.

Spent 2 years in South Lake Union and just moved to Texas about six months ago. Bezos does own a large part of Seattle, he has evicted low wage undesirables, junkies, and for the most part cars. It's a cultureless void of amazon dormitories packed with 20 something white, indian, and chinese dudes. It's expensive as fuck and has a great business propoganda museum on the waterfront.

They have a stand that gives away blemishless perfectly ripe bananas daily but good luck finding a half decent place to eat open past 7 on a weeknight let alone a dive bar that hosts interesting bands on a small stage.

Clean and perfect! Ready to work! Thank you master for selling me the future I always dreamed of! May I die happy in service of your almighty brand!

Yeah, SLU lacks culture. I couldn't stand to live there, and during the day working there it's somewhat depressing. I'm also growing tired of the rich culture in cap hill though, which comes with homelessness, addiction, and filth. I'd prefer some metaphorical place between the two.

I think you’ve taken more from my original comment than was given. I don’t think electing a competent President is at odds with a desire for Congress to better assert its Constitutional authority.

> People need to remember that billionaires are not your friends.

O'rly. Then how much money does someone need to be my friend?

I think you get to set that number on your own or let the market dictate your friend price. Cats with a billie usually have a pretty full roster though. Do you juggle or something? Just a really good listener? Have a rare blood type?

> The only thing that can improve society is concerted, collective action.

Can you site the source for this claim, or it's just your opinion?

I'd prefer a non-billionaire/millionaire statesman (not a politician). Uber rich people in general have a hard time connecting or understanding regular people - and thats what we need now before the whole thing goes off the rails permanently. Although some may argue that has already happened... We need to get off this train of having famous rich people (or rich business people) running gov. Furthermore we should try to purge the career politicians (who again are usually ultra rich with corporate connections) from all of gov. In most cases, they are not representing us any longer - and haven't for years...

Sort of a dream, but seems like a nice goal :)

His suitability nonwithstanding, I doubt Bezos can afford to take time off from Amazon to run in the next few years. And I'd like to see how he's going to extricate himself from his business interests as most presidents are supposed to do... cough

Bezos is an accomplished entrepreneur, but from everything I've heard about how Amazon works, I can't imagine being an effective politician. He's a corporate dictator, not a coalition-builder: the exact quality that built Amazon would seem to be his greatest weakness in the White House.

I don’t think you’re entirely wrong, but you could have said all that about Donald Trump in 2016. We live in strange times.

Trump isn't an effective politician, so whatever people were saying in 2016 was exactly right.

Really? He helped get the first comprehensive tax reform in almost 40 years. That's the exact definition of effective.

The "tax reform" was in no way a tax reform in the way it is usually touted. Complexity went up.

Reform just means change. It doesn't require simplification.

By that definition, Bush passed one also.

The comprehensive tax reform voted on in the dead of night with changes written in the margins? That one?

From your strong reaction, Trump’s political career to date has been effective indeed!

Ebola (for example) is extremely effective. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, or want it anywhere near the White House.

Or maybe like the ACA? Come on, that's how bills get passed.

It's not. None of this is normal.

The ACA went through public debate for a year. This didn't.

Not be too pedantic, but if you can’t get elected, you can’t be effective. By that measure, Trump was more effective than every other Presidential candidate, Hillary in particular. He is now President, and she is an unemployed politician.

I think whichever party puts forth the most electable candidate will, by definition, win the next election. Of what I perceive as that pool of individuals, I see Jeff Bezos as one of the better options.

So what you are doing is looking for someone who can win, not necessarily be an effective leader.

It's the kind of thinking that's got people seriously jabbing about Oprah as a Democratic candidate. We really want to put someone who was a talk show host and has evangelized quack science for the past 30 years in charge of the country, because she's all of a sudden brave enough to speak out against Harvey Weinstein (nevermind that she was his friend)?

The scary thing is, she'd probably beat Trump, that doesn't mean it would be good for this country. It really can't be that difficult to pick someone who is both more electable than Trump and also capable. If we can't do that, then let's fold up as a country and go home.

We don't have to default to someone like Oprah or Bezos. We can do better.

As maddening as it is, it does make sense when the priority becomes for one 'side' to win. I find it difficult to imagine how this could change without significant reform.

(For comparison, while plenty of people here have strong party affiliations over here in Holland, it's not a big deal and quite common even to be a 'floating' voter without too much allegiance to one party.)

Incitatus for consul of the Romans! He's healthy as a horse! ('cause he was a horse.)

Maybe the Romans were on to something ;)

Check out this BBC article about countries without an elected government (the functional ones rely on the civil service):


plus he has about zero charisma

Up to at least ten percent now that he's working out, I'd say.

Frankly I don’t want any inexperienced people running for President anymore.

Would you hire someone who knows nothing about technology (aside from being a consumer of it) to be your CTO? Probably not... similarly, we should expect people to gain experience in government before they are considered suitable.

> similarly, we should expect people to gain experience in government before they are considered suitable.

I agree with the principle (and I despise the whole "tv stars as president" trend), but Bezos' experience isn't completely irrelevant.

There was a similar argument to be made (and that has been made) about Trump and business experience. Now, Trump's failures as president are correlated with his failures as a businessman and in life in general, but it doesn't undermine the logic.

CEO of Amazon is a massive amount of experience that no former president can claim they have. And although Bezos wouldn't have experience working in government, I highly doubt he's unfamiliar with it; he, just like any CEO of companies like amazon, would have worked with governments (especially US government) a ton.

(Now let's not say that too loudly in case Larry Ellison reads HN and is getting new ideas)

Bloomberg did pretty well for himself.

Mayor is probably easier to learn than President. If Bezos ran for mayor of Seattle and governor of Washington I would have more faith in himbeing President. Right now he leads an authoritarian organization (as most corporations are). the qualities to lead that may not translate into leading a democracy.

+1. As mayor, you're still fundamentally an executive, making practical decisions about city services, police, etc. It feels quite analagous to CEO.

Whereas as US president, you're effectively leader of your political party, and your greatest achievements are essentially legislative even though you have no legislative power. It's a position of leadership through coalition-building, not execution through delegation and accountability.

There's certainly overlap, but overall they feel like night and day.

I agree with you, but Amazon is definitely more of a substantive organization than whatever it is Trump ran.

This was why I was so unhappy with Stein.

Maybe he could run for President of China where most of his stuff comes from.

Mark Z. can be his vice and they can think up kid names together.

Unsure if this is satire or not. Bezos's businesses don't give a damn about their customers. I don't trust Amazon at all, even if I use their products, that's because I like many others have been screwed over by them on occasion.

Trump criticizes everything, Jeff is not singled out. He's the equivalent of a Gilded Age robber baron. You want to put him in charge?

EDIT: misread “customers” as “employees.” As a satisfied longtime Amazon customer, I really couldn’t disagree with you more.

In contrast to the current President, Jeff is a stable and effective leader with broad popular appeal, a good head on his shoulders, and respect for the institutions of American democracy. In 2020, I think that’s the best we can hope for.

I've seen little league board members with a better ability to lead than Trump. Just because he's better than bad, does not make him good. Why can't we have higher standards for the person running this country?

Why can't a nation of 300 million people choose someone who hasn't spent their whole life making money or being a pop star? I'd like to see someone with a broader outlook than that.

Your satisfaction as a customer comes at the expense of their employees (as you pointed out) and their sellers. It's something you have to experience and then you get how they work.


As a once (and still) happy customer they lost all my trust.

If President Bezos could get the government to work as well for it's customers as Amazon does, it's a good deal.

Do you really want the POTUS to have the same powers over the national government that a CEO has over their company? Because that would require a substantially different type of government than we have. I suppose the trains will be on time at least.

In contrast to our current leader, a kumquat is a stable and effective leader with broad popular appeal.

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