Terrence Heath, in his personal blog, asks the big question this campaign season: Why are there fifteen candidates in the GOP field? Most of them know they aren't going to get very far. Heath lists some reasons:
They can parley their name recognition into fame, fortune, or influence. See Mike Huckabee and his Fox News show.
Those already rich or famous (such as Donald Trump) can use their campaigns to raise interest in whatever they do afterward.
Others are looking for redemption (Rick Perry and his "oops" moment) or have lots of ambition – Obama became president after one term in the Senate. Marco Rubio is likely thinking if he can, so can I.
Heath gets to the major point of his essay. A viable run takes money. Lots of it. Likely at least $50 million. That gives us another reason for so many candidates: GOP sugar daddies (Heath lists them, including the Koch brothers) have money to spend. A presidential candidate is likely less money than a yacht. What's $50 million when you have $40 billion? Especially when a bought candidate can produce a huge payoff.
In the Citizens United decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that huge political contributions “do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption.” My response to that is these guys are spending all that cash to get something. They're making an investment and expect a return. That is even more obvious with the "Billionaire Primaries" where candidates audition for the cash. Have you noticed that all 15 of these candidates are saying the same thing?