When Forbes ran for President in 1996 and 2000, he sold some of his Forbes, Inc. voting shares to other family members to help finance his run. Forbes did not come close to securing the Republican nomination, despite winning the Arizona and Delaware primaries in 1996, and getting some significant shares of the vote in other primaries. Forbes' awkward campaigning style was considered to be a major factor in his defeat.Time Magazine called his stumping a "comedy-club impression of what would happen if some mad scientist decided to construct a dork robot." For his 2000 presidential campaign, he raised $86,000,000 in campaign contributions, of which $37,000,000 were self-donated.
Logo from 2000 campaign
After dropping out early in the 2000 primary season, Forbes returned to heading the magazine and company. During the 1996 campaign, insiders at Fortune alleged that stories about Forbes' advertisers became favorably biased toward them.
Forbes flat tax plan has changed slightly. In 1996, Forbes supported a flat tax of 17% on all personal and corporate earned income (unearned income such as capital gains, pensions, inheritance, and savings would be exempt.) However, Forbes supported keeping the first $33,000 of income exempt. In 2000, Forbes maintained the same plan; however, instead of each person receiving an exemption of $33,000, it more closely resembled the Armey Plan (Forbes' version called for a $13,000 per adult and $5,000 per dependent deduction). Forbes is very wealthy, with a net worth in 1996 of $430 million. In response to this criticism, Forbes promised in his 2000 campaign to exempt himself from the benefits of the flat tax, although he did support the repeal of the 16th Amendment in a debate with Alan Keyes the previous year.
In his 2000 campaign, Forbes professed his support for social conservatism along with his supply-side economics. Despite holding opposite positions in 1996, for the 2000 campaign, Forbes announced he was adamantly opposed to abortion and supported prayer in public schools. The previous year Forbes had issued a statement saying he would no longer donate money to Princeton University due to its hiring of philosopher Peter Singer, who views personhood as being limited to 'sentient' beings and therefore considers some disabled people and all infants to lack this status. Steve Forbes was one of the signers of the Statement of Principles of Project for the New American Century (PNAC) on June 3, 1997.
On March 28, 2007, Forbes joined Rudy Giuliani's campaign for the 2008 Presidential election, serving as a National Co-Chair and Senior Policy Advisor. Later in the 2008 presidential campaign, Forbes served as John McCain's Economic Adviser on Taxes, Energy and the Budget during McCain's bid for the 2008 Presidential election.
Forbes, Steve (2005). Flat Tax Revolution: Using a Postcard to Abolish the IRS. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. p. 216. ISBN978-0895260406. OCLC60558651.
Forbes, Steve (2012). Freedom Manifesto: Why Free Markets Are Moral and Big Government Isn't. Crown Business Publishing. p. 304. ISBN978-0307951571.
Forbes, Steve; Ames, Elizabeth (2014). Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy - and What We Can Do About It.ISBN9780071823708.
Forbes, Steve; Ames, Elizabeth (2015). Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming The Fed will Restore Hope and Prosperity. McGraw-Hill Education. p. 224. ISBN978-1259641121.
^Hilzenrath, David S. "No Blank Checks for Forbes", The Washington Post, August 17, 1999. Accessed October 7, 2018. "To match Bush's record $37 million haul, Forbes could have no choice but to sell part of the family business, liquidate real estate in his home town of Bedminster, N.J., or go heavily into debt."