John Legere, former T-Mobile CEO and aspiring Batman, has reacted to the mob that attacked the Capitol like many other political and business leaders by calling for President Donald Trump to step down. But he’s also going a step further by considering a run for political office himself. Legere left his post as CEO and member of T-Mobile’s board after successfully negotiating the merger between the company and Sprint, so he very well could be looking far and wide for his next gig.
Legere’s time as T-Mobile’s CEO turned the company into the “Un-Carrier,” a plan that came with an end to contracts, revamped mobile plans, and a variety of freebies and perks for customers designed to set T-Mobile apart from its longtime rivals AT&T and Verizon. But what would political candidacy — or un-candidacy — look like for Legere?
For the first time in my life I am actually considering the possibility of running for office. It’s clear somebody needs to help real Americans find change. I’m not sure I’m capable, but I can’t stand by simply watching this craziness.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) January 8, 2021
Well, if it’s anything like his Un-Carrier moves, it could be a mixed bag. Legere was brash and unafraid to roast the competition, and his attitude and leather jackets lean more un-presidential (or Cool) than anything else. But given the last four years we’ve had, we’re probably all used to the unconventional at this point. Tone matters less than not attempting to dissolve democracy, so the bar is low.
In terms of policy, popular proposals like Medicare-for-all fit nicely within the logic of Legere’s Un-Carrier programs. A large part of Un-Carrier’s offering was zero-rating data from certain music and video streaming services so it wouldn’t count against T-Mobile customers’ bills. Why not do the same thing with costly medical expenses?
Of course, this opens up another can of worms. Legere was publicly in support of net neutrality while he was CEO but pushed programs that flaunted it. Those zero-rating schemes, like Binge On and T-Mobile’s other perks, actively favored the services that struck a deal with the company. A healthy internet and a strong Federal Communications Commission might not be at the top of Legere’s priorities.
There’s no telling how serious Legere actually is or if a run would involve him appearing as the heightened version of himself that made him the unofficial mascot of T-Mobile, but there is a precedent. Executives from the wider world of the tech industry, like former HP CEO Meg Whitman, have made attempts to hold a political office, and a businessperson thinking they could fix the country or a state in the same way they juice quarterly revenue is a common theme in modern US politics. I’m not holding my breath for a T-Mobile magenta paint job for the White House or press briefings styled as keynotes, but god it would make a good story.