Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was close to joining the 2020 presidential election race as an independent, but decided against it after seeing results by a commissioned pollster.
Cuban spoke with David Axelrod, founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, for “The Axe Files” podcast and shared how far he went in analyzing a run for office.
Cuban: Poll showed strong support from independents
Cuban said at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States he considered running for president. He hired a pollster to see how he would stack up in the race between current President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“What they found out is I would take some votes away from Donald Trump, particularly with independents,” Cuban said on the podcast. “In a three-way between me, Biden and Trump, I dominated the independent vote — I got like 77 percent percent of it and I was able to take some votes away from Donald and some votes away from Biden. But in aggregate, I was only able to get up to 25 percent. From every which way, crosstab, you name it, I had it analyzed and scrutinized every which way, projected, and they could only see me getting up to 25 percent. And so that’s why I didn’t pursue it further.”
Cuban, 61, said he also didn’t pursue a run because his family “voted it down.”
“If the numbers would have come back significantly higher and I would have been able to take more away from either or both candidates then I probably would have tried to convince my family. But given where they (the numbers) were it just wasn’t worth it.”
Competitive side of me impacted decision, Cuban says
Cuban said a large part of not running wasn’t about fears he would help Trump get re-elected, but more about not thinking he could win.
“The competitive side of me thought, when people heard me speak, when people heard my positions, when people heard the fact that I understood what I was talking about and understood technology and none of the candidates understood technology that maybe I could do it. It wasn’t so much about tipping the election one way or the other but what the pollster said is you think that and may be able to get up higher but it’s still going to come down to one of those other two candidates.”
Cuban has floated the idea of running for president before. In 2015, he said he would crush then-Republican runner Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton but pulled back, saying he could have more impact on society in other ways. He endorsed Clinton, though early in Trump’s campaign he supported him in hopes he’d be a pro-business candidate. Instead Trump increased his inflammatory rhetoric and Cuban backed away.
Cuban critiques Trump, calls out lack of leadership
On the podcast, Cuban critiqued the lack of substance in Trump and his stunt Monday night. While he said the president got off to an OK star, he said he believed the tax plan missed the mark and people such as himself should have been taxed more.
“I understand how Republicans and conservatives like the fact that he’s trying to tilt the judiciary but after that, I mean, he’s a victim,” Cuban said. “He’s not a leader at all. He has no communication skills. To this day, nothing is his fault. He’s never admitted anything and you can’t be the leader of the free world and play the victim card all the time. It just doesn’t work, it’s counterproductive and it has led to us being diminished globally.”
For now Cuban will keep up with his businesses, including the Mavericks. The NBA announced plans to resume the season at Disney World on July 31.
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