Mike Pence and Chris Christie Give Lessons in How To Get Rich Losing Elections*

Relaxed election laws in the U.S. make running as an underdog candidate good business.

If Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s vice president, gets elected president, I will die my hair green.

If Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, unseats Joe Biden in 2024, this tricolor Carioca (a person from Rio de Janeiro), promises to wear a Flamengo shirt for a week.**

This week, Pence and Christie expanded the roster of presidential candidates from the extremist cell, which still goes by the name of the Republican Party. Both are expected to lose and emerge financially victorious from the campaign.

Christie broke unpopularity records in 2018 when he left office as governor of the state separated from Manhattan by the Hudson River. He attacked Donald Trump, but was shortly licking his boots. Christie unsuccessfully sought a cabinet position and led the transition team, from which he was also later excluded. The humiliation wasn’t enough, however. In 2020, he almost died from COVID-19, which he caught while coaching Trump for the debate with Joe Biden.

Mike Pence, former governor of Indiana, was 12 meters (approximately 39 feet) from a mob that literally asked for his neck during the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Since then, he has hardly spoken against the former president who continues to blame him for not helping him steal the election that day. Pence only criticized Trump more explicitly when he announced his presidential candidacy on Thursday.

The two former governors have something more in common than just a high rejection index among Republican voters. They both depend on the salary of public officials. Pence left the vice presidency only to be hosted by friends until his political connections were enough to buy a mansion in Indiana.

Campaign finance laws in the U.S., which the Supreme Court relaxed in a 2010 decision, provide presidential candidates guaranteed personal enrichment without having to commit a crime. With the help of creative accounting and a gutted federal agency left to monitor the electoral orange grove, any underdog can benefit from campaigns in a way that would make Wal do Açaí and many other Bolsonarian personages on the take blush.***

Someone who knew this but may have been too greedy, is the congressman son of Brazilians, George Santos. He is under federal indictment for using campaign donations to buy designer clothes and pay personal bills, which he denies, while to everyone’s surprise was elected to Congress in 2022. Santos has collected almost $3 million from donors, a large amount for an underdog in his district. But it’s no exception.

Tina Forte, an obscure Trumpist who was in the vicinity of the Capitol during the attack, ran for Congress in 2022 against the unbeatable locomotive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Miraculously, Forte raised and managed to spend more than $1.4 million in a stillborn campaign, but one that was lucrative for election service vendors such as a printers.

The Santos indictment also serves as a convenient distraction. New York Republicans got richer from donations to his campaign. The money that pours into political action committees known as super PACS brings campaign funding closer to being organized crime.

Neither Pence nor Christie will sit at the famous Resolute Desk the desk in the White House Oval Office in January 2025. But the rear ends of unpopular and cynical politicians like them will land in more comfortable seats, thanks to the big business of running in U.S. elections.

*Editor’s note: The original version of this article in Portuguese is available with a subscription.

**Translator note: The Sports Club with three colors would be Fluminense, one of four major football teams in Rio de Janeiro and the oldest football club in Rio. Flamengo, another popular club, has two colors.

***Translator note: The author is referring to Walderice da Conceição who was Bolsonaro’s secretary in the Chamber for 15 years but, according to a lawsuit, was never in Brasília or held a government position.

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About Jane Dorwart 201 Articles
BA Anthroplogy. BS Musical Composition, Diploma in Computor Programming. and Portuguese Translator.

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