It’s no secret that lots of people think Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is “gearing up” for a presidential run. It’s amazing to contemplate, really: if you think of the troubles Donald Trump has had divesting from enterprises that might be deemed conflicts of interest, imagine how thorny the issue would be for Zuckerberg, who currently controls how large numbers of people receive their news and information. But that problem is for columnists and pundits to bicker about in the future. For now, ignoring the gazillion reasons Zuckerberg shouldn’t want to be president and assuming he does wants to run, when can we expect a Zuckerberg candidacy?
The most recent media and business star to ascend to the Oval Office toyed with presidential dreams and laid groundwork for decades before making a real run in 2016. At 70, Donald Trump is 38 years older than Zuckerberg so the Facebook founder has time. But Zuckerberg has demonstrated a history of being a young man in a hurry — so if he wanted to run soon how soon could he do it? According the US Constitution, a US president must be at least 35 years of age. (The founders believed maturity was necessary for the job and, alas, they had no other way to quantify maturity than by age.) Zuckerberg will be 35 in May of 2019, meaning he would be eligible to run in the 2020 election. The youngest major party candidate in history remains William Jennings Bryan, a populist who at age 36 lost the 1896 presidential election to William McKinley.