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Money: How Rare Is Donald Trump?

Money: How Rare Is Donald Trump?With the 2016 presidential race firming up there is no more interesting candidate then TV star and billionaire Donald Trump, for the moment an individual to be considered in terms of the oddity of his circumstances.

There’s no doubt that in America we think long and hard about great wealth. Each week millions of us dutifully grab our lottery tickets in an effort to join the ranks of the financial elite, lured by thoughts of how an instantly-massive bank account could change our lives. We think of big houses, great yachts and fast cars, contributions and comforts, and in many cases we see business leaders as heroes and heroines, especially those who make visible contributions to our communities.

At the very top of the financial pyramid we have the richest of the rich, the individuals who rank among the Forbes 400. According to the magazine, to be included you need a net worth of at least $1.7 billion, a standard so high that 145 billionaires didn’t make the cut in 2015.

On the list, of course, is the aforementioned Mr. Trump. Forbes says Donald Trump has $4.5 billion and that he ranks 121st on its list. Donald Trump’s accounting is different, he asserts in a news release that he is worth “in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS.”


Given that we have about 322 million people, each of the fortunate 400 is a rarity. The odds of joining this exclusive club are a lottery-like 805,000 to one.

Room For The Rest of Us?

The question that arises is whether a future presidential campaign will feature not one but several of the uber wealthy, sort of a gladiatorial clash where contestants vie with net worth and the power it brings instead of swords and tridents.

In a sense, Trump is a pioneer in the post-Citizens United era. Trump is surely not the first wealthy person to run for the presidency — think of John Kennedy, the Roosevelts or the wealthiest of them all, George Washington — but what is distinctive is the enormity of the wealth held by those on the Forbes 400 list. In future presidential contests will those with less wealth have access to the nation’s highest office? Will mere millionaires, the middle class or those below the middle class be able to impact our national decisions?

And so it goes. Love him or not love him, at least everyone can agree that Trump is unquestionably part of the gilded elite, a very rare group indeed.

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