Is a billionaire's place in the (White) House?
Michael Bloomberg looks likely to be the latest rich-lister to give that idea a shake.
The former New York mayor is considering a very late run for the Democratic presidential nomination. The businessman appears to believe the Democratic field of more than a dozen contenders is too weak to produce a nominee able to defeat United States President Donald Trump.
A Bloomberg adviser said the candidate viewed Trump as an "unprecedented threat to our nation".
Bloomberg would bypass the first four contests in February — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — before jumping in on Super Tuesday in March.
Bloomberg, 77, who is worth at least US$50 billion ($78.8b), is known for his activism on issues such as gun control and climate change and conservatism on economic issues. He would swim in the moderate lane alongside former Vice-President Joe Biden.
He would also increase the party's problematic weighting towards leading candidates aged in their 70s. Besides Biden, progressive senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are also senior citizens.
As yet, the tea leaves for the 2020 general election are a mixed bag.
Trump, facing impeachment proceedings, has the advantage of incumbency and still has his party solidly behind him although state elections show Republicans continue to haemorrhage losses in suburban areas. In an ABC/Washington Post poll, Biden, Warren and Sanders all trump Trump in match-ups. A YouGovUS poll showed that both a generic Democratic nominee and congressional candidate were rated six points ahead of Trump and Republicans.
Bloomberg would be the latest billionaire to try his luck. Tom Steyer has spent millions on advertising in early voting states but is struggling to make an impact in polls. The campaigns of John Delaney and Howard Schultz faded.
Bloomberg's possible entry comes amid digs from some billionaires about the policies of Warren and Sanders, particularly the idea of a wealth tax. Wealthy Americans used to pay a much higher income tax rate in the pre-Reagan era.
JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon said Warren "vilifies successful people". Warren has also clashed with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who says he supports higher taxes on people like himself, suggested last week that a big tax increase would risk less economic growth.
A spokesman for the Sanders campaign said of Bloomberg: "More billionaires seeking more political power surely isn't the change America needs."
Washington Post analyst Aaron Blake noted: "There are about 600 billionaires in the United States. Nearly 1 per cent of them are running for President in 2020 or considered it."