Crypto advocates getting involved in politics is not new – but there are suggestions that a bid from Chamath Palihapitiya, the chairman of Virgin Galactic and the CEO of the venture capital outfit Social Capital, could well be in with a better shot at winning office than previous “bitcoin (BTC) candidates.”
Palihapitiya announced his intention to run for the post of Governor of California in the November 2022 election, and has launched a website to host his manifesto promises. But, unlike last year’s ultimately dismal showing at the polls for the 2020 American presidential “bitcoin candidate” Brock Pierce and his “Brock the Vote” campaign, there are suggestions that a crypto advocate like Palihapitiya could well stand a better chance in 2022 – or even earlier.
The incumbent governor, the Democrat Gavin Newsom, is looking likely to face a recall over his much-maligned handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with campaigners lobbying for the recall claiming to all but met the 1.5 million signatures mark required on a petition for a recall according to state law. Campaigners have until March 17 to reach their target, but are thought to be around the 1.2 million mark, KUSI reported.
If the recall petition is successful, California may have to go to the polls again later this year.
Palihapitiya has joined calls for a recall, tweeting, “It’s on.”
The Social Capital boss made his first BTC purchase back in 2012, and has called bitcoin “gold 2.0.” Last year, he advised people to keep at least 1% of their savings in bitcoin.
Regardless of when exactly the election will take place, Palihapitiya does seem to be in with at least an outside chance if he does make good on his word – though it would still be a long shot.
If Newsom stands as the Democratic candidate, the main challenge would likely come from a Republican candidate. But with the GOP in seeming disarray after the calamitous last days of the Trump presidency, the door is not closed for an independent to give the major parties a run for their money.
Left-field candidates have won in California before – most notably Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served as Governor of California between November 17, 2003, and January 3, 2011. However, the “Governator” was the 2003 GOP candidate, and the backing of a major party is all but essential in American politics, even at the gubernatorial level.
However, another 1980s action movie star – Jesse Ventura – succeeded in running as an independent for the Reform Party, serving as the Governor of Minnesota from January 4, 1999, to January 6, 2003.
Palihapitiya’s bid could well be boosted by the number of BTC advocates among the California electorate. Per Google Trends data, only internet users in Nevada and Hawaii have shown more interest in bitcoin than Californians in recent days.
But there is a chance that Palihapitiya will not be the only BTC-friendly candidate on the ballot paper. He will likely be standing against all sorts of colorful characters who have also expressed an interest in running including the bitcoin-keen rapper Kanye West, who spoke about the possibility of standing for the office on a November 2020 edition of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Other candidates include the comedian and talk show host Dave Rubin, who announced his intention to run on Fox News last year as well as, as well as Tim Dillon, a standup comedian and podcaster who announced his own decision to run on Twitter.