Mark Cuban is strongly considering running for President of the United States in 2020 as a third-party candidate, and as he mulls his options he has one message that he wants all Americans to hear: “Rich people are stupid.”
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Monday night prior to the Brooklyn Nets-Dallas Mavericks game, Cuban continued to be evasive about whether he will run for president as an independent candidate.
But he did say he would neither need nor want a party affiliation.
“I haven’t decided anything yet. We’ll see what happens. It all comes down to how things play out,” Cuban said. “It’s not something I feel like I have to do.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty with what’s going on with the Mueller report, there’s a lot of things that have to be figured out before we know how 2020 is going to play out.
“But it’s something that if circumstances were right I would do.”
Cuban’s comments came two days after Bernie Sanders kicked off his presidential candidacy with a rally in Brooklyn, joining a crowded field of Democratic candidates that only promises to get larger as more politicians start showing up in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The Republican field is crowded, too, with numerous longshot candidates. But unless things turn sour for President Donald Trump over the next 12-14 months, he is almost certain to run for re-election.
Could any of the current Democratic candidates defeat him?
Cuban would not answer that question directly, but he did say this:
“If you look at the Democrats right now, there’s like a democratic gravity that pulls all the candidates to the same point. And it’s very difficult to show leadership in a situation like that because you can’t truly lead if you have to find an equilibrium between being a true leader for the people of your country vs. getting elected in your primary. None of those things are conducive to out-and-out leading the country.
“You can see it right now with the Democrats.
“They’re pushing hard for Democratic votes, but they’re doing nothing to try to bring Independent and Republican voters aboard,” Cuban said.
The reality TV star and billionaire NBA owner did not want to weigh in with any opinions regarding Sanders’ dismissal of reparation payments to African-Americans or Kamala Harris’ comments regarding the possible legalization of prostitution.
Instead, his message was more pragmatic: Give people real economic hope, and good things will happen. That would come, Cuban said, by having publicly owned companies give equity shares to their employees — a formula that has made several of Cuban’s former employees millionaires.
“Too many people give up because they do not see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Cuban said.
“One of the biggest risks and greatest expenses this country could ever face beyond a really bad war is that people will rebel, and we will have social unrest, because they think their circumstances are just untenable and it’s only going to get worse. That’s when people rebel.
“You have to show people how they can have an upside and how problems are solvable, but you can’t just say ‘the government will figure it out.’ You’ve got to get right to the heart of the matter and get to the details first. Sort of like a business plan. That way every voter can see them.”
There has not been a viable independent candidate for president (someone who made it onto the ballot and participated in all the major debates) since Ross Perot in 2000 and John Anderson in 1980.
But if these things happen every two decades, one might say we are due.
Cuban said getting on the ballot in all 50 states would not be a problem, and he said he would reject any political contributions that did not come from individual donors. He has not formed a Political Action Committee.
When asked exactly what circumstances would have to take place in order for him to run, he refused to answer.
But his insight into the viability of an independent candidate was something he has clearly thought long and hard about.
“There can’t be another party, because parties are parties and have the same politics … whether they are a new start-up party or a start-up, they’re all going to have their own internal politics. So the idea of just starting a third party, that has been tried time and time for 200 years, and so that defeats the purpose and actually makes things worse and not better. Just adding one more party does not change that.
“We live in a digital age. You are not going to outreach anybody. The Russians didn’t spend all that much money to impact, Donald Trump didn’t spend all that much money when it was all said and done on digital spending. Secretary Clinton did, but I don’t think she was very efficient in what she did.
“It’s not a question of reach, that’s the easy part. If you have a message that people want to hear and will grab onto, it doesn’t matter if you’re an independent or in one of the two main parties.”
Cuban said Trump has failed to find workable solutions and has helped contribute to a major polarization of the country over the past 10 years.
But Trump’s base is particularly loyal … and that is something any candidate who runs against him is going to have to go up against.
“People weren’t voting for (Trump in 2016) because he was calling people names, they were voting for him because he was not a politician, and he was demonstrating to everyone that he wasn’t a politician.
“A big chunk of voters, Republican voters, still want someone who is not a politician. And you’re not getting that from anyone in the Democratic Party.”
Maybe they’ll get it from Cuban, maybe not.
But it is an idea he is clearly considering.
“It really would take the exact right set of circumstances,” Cuban said.