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The real reason Dean Phillips is running for president | The Triangle
Opinion

The real reason Dean Phillips is running for president

Photo by Lucas Tang | The Triangle

Dean Phillips is a current member of the US House of Representatives representing Minnesota’s third congressional district. The district, which wraps around the western suburbs of Minneapolis, is where I grew up. In 2018, the year Phillips launched his congressional campaign, I had the opportunity to meet him on several occasions. He seemed to care a lot about the people living in his district and appeared to have good reasons for running for Congress. Frustratingly, Phillips has launched a longshot bid for president against Joe Biden despite the lack of any good reason to do so.

Many people were not aware that South Carolina conducted their primary earlier this month in a shakeup to the Democratic primary calendar. Phillips captured less than 2% of the vote, a smaller percentage than author Marianne Williamson who dropped out after the South Carolina primary. This colossal defeat would normally end the campaign of any serious presidential candidate. Why is Dean Phillips still running then?

People run for public office for one of two reasons: they believe doing so will allow them to address issues they care deeply about or they want to stroke their own egos. Dean Phillips is unfortunately the latter. In 2018, Phillips ran as a centrist Democrat in a district where many people identify themselves as centrist Democrats. Now, as a presidential candidate, Phillips’ only justification for running seems to be that he thinks Biden is too old. This is such a weak argument for launching a primary campaign against a sitting president. The presidents of Austria, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Liberia and Nepal are all around the same age as Biden, some are older, and all are perfectly capable of doing their job.

In New Hampshire’s rogue primary, Phillips attempted to appeal to the progressive left despite running as a proud centrist just two years ago. Phillips can’t seem to figure out what he believes in, other than the fact he believes being in his 50s would somehow make him a better president than the guy who has been doing the job for the past four years. This severe lack of conviction for anything meaningful shows us the true reason Phillips is running for president – to secure his place in history.

As I mentioned before, there are many reasons people may choose to run for president. Some people run for president because they care about policy issues. Others do so to sell books or start a podcast. Phillips falls into a very rare category, which is the worst of them all – he wants an ego boost. He will get nothing out of running for president other than being remembered as the guy who ran against Biden in 2024. Phillips, a multi-millionaire, has absolutely no political future left and he’s okay with that. Biden will be the nominee for the Democrats in 2024, and Phillips will go back to Minnesota to live out a life filled with more comforts than many of us will ever enjoy. With a net worth of over $80 million, he will never need to work another day in his life. At this point, it is about being remembered and having his face next to Biden’s on the 2024 primary Wikipedia page.

Last year I wrote an opinion essay on why age limits should be implemented in Congress. Many politicians stay in one position for over 40 years because they love the idea of dying in office and being celebrated. There are entirely too many people who end up in public office who only want to stroke their own ego. Joe Biden is not one of those people. After being president for four years he truly believes that he can defeat Donald Trump a second time and continue the work he has done up to this point. Rather than worrying about Joe Biden, we should really be worried about Dean Phillips. A man whose ego is so enormous and whose only goal is to elevate himself that even if did become president he likely would not care enough about any of us to do anything good.

As Dean Phillips continues his ego campaign around the country, I implore you to avoid giving this megalomaniac the very thing he wants – fame at your expense. Primary challenges are never inherently bad. Sometimes candidates have good reasons to run against incumbents. Ron Harris launched a primary challenge against Dean Phillips after he thought he could run for president and his congressional seat at the same time, and we should all hope that Harris comes out victorious if Phillips does flip-flop (as he is known to do) and run for his House seat again.

Folks interested in influencing Biden’s policy agenda should consider volunteering with organizations dedicated to causes they care about instead of voting in a primary for a guy who is incapable of deciding what his own beliefs are. It is time to send Phillips back to his Minnetonka mansion and re-elect Joe Biden as president.