Mark Zuckerberg keeps saying he’s not running for president but he also keeps hiring the sorts of people you might want around if you were running. Politico reports Zuckerberg has hired Democratic pollster Joel Benenson to work for his philanthropy:
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have hired Democratic pollster Joel Benenson, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama and the chief strategist to Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, as a consultant, according to a person familiar with the hire.
Benenson’s company, Benenson Strategy Group, will be conducting research for the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative, the couple’s philanthropy. The organization — whose mission statement, according to its website, is “advancing human potential and promoting equality” — is endowed with the couple’s Facebook fortune.
I guess I can see a major philanthropic organization like Zuckerberg’s needing a pollster from time to time. Still, there must be plenty of pollsters out there whose background isn’t in Democratic campaigns for the White House. Benenson’s page on his own company’s website opens:
Joel Benenson, founder and CEO of Benenson Strategy Group, is the only Democratic pollster in history to have played a leading role in three winning presidential campaigns — making him the “go-to guy for any politico wanting to take the public’s temperature,” according to GQ.
The Washington Post reported in 2015 that Benenson’s role on the Clinton campaign was “as her chief strategist, the role David Axelrod played for Obama.” So, again, this is certainly someone you might want around if you were considering a 2020 run for president.
Zuckerberg has been crisscrossing the country for several weeks, writing about his experiences and, at times, offering what sound like policy prescriptions. During a stop in Alaska, he suggested it might be time to consider a Universal Basic Income for the nation. A week later during a stop in North Dakota, Zuckerberg wrote about fracking and climate change.