Skip to main content

What a presidential candidate drives may seem like a minor detail during this endless campaign season, but a set of wheels actually says a lot about you from your presentation of socio-economic class (flashy vs. modest) to where you stand on issues like the environment.

What's more, choosing a car has major implications for personal safety, long-term finances and the well-being of your family. For people of means like the presidential candidates, choosing a car says much about personal priorities.

Below, we've cobbled together a list of what these presidential hopefuls drive and provide analysis about what their selections say about their politics.

Image placeholder title

Hillary Clinton – Dodge Conversion Van

Hillary doesn't drive anything, really. Being a former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady, she hasn’t driven herself anywhere since 1996 and doesn’t plan on starting any time soon. After her coronation, Clinton will continue to ride the back seat in style, cruising to Steak n’ Shake with the world’s premiere chauffer service.

In the meantime, however, she provides her drivers with an outstanding ride. On the campaign trail Clinton rides around in a Dodge conversion nicknamed the “Scooby Van” by the press.

She could probably seal up this whole election right now if she ditched the campaign trail and rode around the country solving mysteries. “Vote Clinton 2016: She solved the mystery of Young McItty’s Ghost!”

Image placeholder title

Bernie Sanders – Lincoln Town Car SUV

We're disappointed. We had streams of text in our head about Sanders’s paneled station wagon with the sandal-shaped brake pedal, only to discover that he rides in a luxury SUV.

Oh, Bern, you’re breaking our heart.

Now, this isn’t to say that Sanders doesn’t own something more economical, and indeed we shouldn’t leave unmentioned the Sanders branded Teslas out there on the road. Nevertheless, this is the man delivers speeches like “the United States must lead the world in tackling climate change, if we are to make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren.” It’s a little tough knowing that he prepped those notes in the back seat of a vehicle that gets about 20 miles to the gallon.

New campaign slogan: “Twenty MPG could be worse. Sanders 2016!”

Image placeholder title

Marco Rubio – Audi Q7

Rubio has some problems with money, and that’s putting it gently. Although far be it from us here at MainStreet to poke fun at anyone who has trouble with personal finances, since he stepped into the limelight Rubio has taken heat for his imprudent spending habits. It’s not a totally irrelevant point, as good resource management is important for a president, but let’s not read too much into it.

So let’s take for what it’s worth the often cash-strapped Rubio clan’s decision to lease an Audi Q7 luxury SUV. It certainly fits with the candidate’s idiom of money and global warming as two of the many problems that will never really catch up with us.

The Rubio campaign's new bumper sticker: “Rubio 2016: Running with Scissors Is Fun When You Never Fall Down!”

Image placeholder title

Jeb Bush – Uber and a Mini Cooper

We’ve done it. We’ve found something about Jeb! that is, dare we say it, cool.

Bush’s wife Columba Bush drives around in a stylish Mini Cooper, a car with some of the best branding on the market -- albeit, a decidedly non-American imprint with its British heritage and BMW ownership. It’s cool enough to get noticed, not so flashy as to be a symbol of aging desperation (see below re: Trump) and is perfectly functional in all the ways a car should be. Why Bush isn’t showing up to his campaign rallies in this we'll never know, as it would certainly set him apart from the black-SUV clad candidate masses.

Instead Bush takes the opposite approach. He likes to be seen taking Ubers around town -- a clear presentation of welcoming the hip sharing economy. 

But Bush may be as concerned about his Uber rating as his poll numbers.

Image placeholder title

Donald Trump – Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Mercedes, Airplane…

Do we even need to ask what car Trump drives? He drives all of them, just to show that he can. He finds attractive women for the passenger seat, just to show that he can. He plasters his name in enormous, rigid letters just to make sure everyone knows that he totally, really, definitely can.

And he’d probably agree with all of the above because we have to give the man credit: he absolutely can and will always win. It’s easy to throw stones, but Trump has done a hell of a lot right along with the wrong.

He’s got the garage to prove it.

Trumps next addition to the skyline: “Because I can.” Nothing says "Make America Great Again" like a Lamborghini Diablo.

Image placeholder title

Ted Cruz – BMW 3 Series

This photo has Cruz leaving the Capitol Building behind the wheel of a BMW 3 Series. O.K., it’s a solid, comfortable luxury choice for a man who certainly has the means. Given many of his policy positions, it’s a little surprising to find that it doesn’t roll coal, but there we are. Cruz appears to drive a quiet, unprepossessing luxury sedan.

Mike Huckabee – Chevy Tahoe

Image placeholder title

Governor Huckabee prefers pickup trucks. Big ones.

It’s frankly very civic minded of him.

Pickup trucks are like boats, lake houses and RV’s: just fantastic for a friend to own. Driving around in a pickup truck means showing up every, single time someone needs to move, lug a piece of furniture or maybe even make a quick run to the Costco. Huckabee, to an extent, is demonstrating utility. Of course, the 355 hp under the hood has much more pick-up-and-go than his campaign.

Image placeholder title

Rand Paul – A Mazda 3 or something, just a little hatchback

The above is directly from an interview which Senator Rand Paul gave to the Des Moines Register on the subject of what kind of car he drives.

To be honest, that’s just about right. Paul is a crusader.

Paul often seems confused or frustrated by issues he can’t quite force into the four corners of his worldview. It was most on display during the first Republican debate, when the licensed physician said of the link between vaccines and autism, “I’m all for vaccines, but I’m also for freedom.”

It’s a nice sign to dangle from your car’s now-optional rearview mirror or steering column: “Rand Paul: It’ll be great, or something.”

Image placeholder title

Lindsey Graham – Crown Victoria

Senator Lindsey Graham is of the camp that prefers a solid, reliable automobile to something flashy. According to his press office, Graham drives a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria.

Now, here is where we could spend easily several hundred words on the link between Graham's decision to drive the quintessential cop car and his views on privacy, civil liberties and national security. However the Senator saw fit to write in, so we'll take it easy and sum his views up thusly:

If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear. Seems just right for the land of the free and the home of the brave, right?

“Graham 2016: We already know what’s in the trunk.”