Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is still infatuated with the idea of running for president.
During an appearance on “The Axe Files” podcast Thursday with CNN commentator and former Obama administration official David Axelrod, Cuban said as recently as last month he commissioned a pollster to gauge his prospects as an independent candidate but decided not to pursue it further after seeing how he’d match up in a race with President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“What they found out is I’d take some votes away from Donald Trump, particularly with independents,” Cuban said. “In a three-way between me, Biden and Trump, I dominated the independent vote — I got like 77 percent percent of it and 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. That’s why I didn’t pursue it further.”
Cuban flirted with a run for president in 2016 but decided against it and endorsed Hillary Clinton, saying at the time that his initial hopes for Trump as a pro-business candidate who was moderate on other issues had been lost in his inflammatory rhetoric.
After Trump was elected, Cuban continued to float the possibility of running in 2020. Though he seemingly closed the door on it last September, saying his family didn’t want him to run, he told Axelrod he has continued to be open to the idea because he was not sure that Biden was a strong enough candidate to win.
Cuban said fears about helping Trump get re-elected if he ran as an independent didn’t factor into his thinking.
“Not so much that. I just didn’t think I could win,” Cuban said. “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, who has also attained a significant measure of celebrity outside of sports thanks to his appearance on the popular ABC show “Shark Tank,” was highly critical of Trump’s performance as president but said he was not ready yet to endorse either candidate in November’s election.
“I think he got off to an OK start. I didn’t like the specifics of the tax plan but thought corporate taxes needed to be lowered some,” Cuban said. “I wouldn’t have lowered them that much. I did not think personal taxes need to be lowered as much as they were. They should have gone up for folks like me. 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. 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 doesn’t work, it’s counterproductive and it has led to us being diminished globally.”