Forget Howard Schultz. Another billionaire independent candidate may be coming

Bloomberg may be out and Howard Schultz might be polling about as well as having a root canal, but there are more billionaires out there who may be running for president next year. While this name has come up in the past, the press has decided to trot out Mark Cuban as yet another independent, self-funding billionaire who could shake up the system. So is he actually going to toss his hat in the ring this time? If he is, he’s doing a good job of hiding it, but like so many others, he’s “not ruling anything out” at this point. (USA Today)

Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, has once again floated the idea that he would consider running for president.

“It really would take the exact right set of circumstances,” Cuban, who is also known for his role on the reality TV show “Shark Tank,” said in an interview with the New York Daily News before his Mavericks lost to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.

“I haven’t decided anything yet. We’ll see what happens. It all comes down to how things play out. It’s not something I feel like I have to do,” Cuban said.

When USA Today says that Cuban “floated the idea” of running, that’s a bit disingenuous. The reporter asked him the question. It’s not as if Cuban called a press conference to make an announcement and say he was looking into the idea. But it’s no doubt flattering to have the media seriously asking you if you might take a shot at it, so there’s no point in just flatly saying it’s out of the question. Besides, having people think you might run is very good for business, as I’ve previously pointed out about business executives like Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg, and even Donald Trump.

There are some key signs we can look for to see if this is more than just lip service. It’s already March of 2019, so if anyone with a legitimate chance is going to run they would already need to be taking a number of steps. First of all, the available talent pool of experienced, successful political consultants and staffers is large, but not unlimited. He’d need to be hiring some people already. To the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t done that.

Even if he’s running as an independent, any candidate would need to start organizing teams in all fifty states to begin collecting signatures, establishing fundraising connections and making sure they could get on the ballot. We’ve seen none of those activities from Cuban either. In other words, this sounds more like vaporware than anything else.

But if he did run, who would be more heavily impacted between Donald Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee? Mark Cuban has always been something of a wildcard when it comes to politics, making friends with powerful people in both parties. He’s made statements that seemed supportive of both liberal and conservative policies at various times. Democrats might be hopeful that he could appeal to disillusioned Republicans and persuadable, conservative-leaning independents. But by the same token, we might wonder if Mark Cuban could look like a safe harbor of sanity for Democrats if their party winds up nominating a full throated socialist who voted in favor of infanticide.

Either way, we’re in a weird political cycle and I think the groud is fertile for an independent candidate with the right background to shake up the race a bit. I just don’t think that person will wind up being Mark Cuban.