Steve Bannon, who helped pilot a billionaire political neophyte into the White House, is reportedly encouraging another one to try to take his place. President Trump’s former campaign manager and senior adviser is encouraging billionaire NBA owner Mark Cuban to run for president as a Democrat, the Daily Beast reports.
Bannon and Cuban, who’s spent years toying with a run for the White House and campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016, have been talking about a potential 2020 run for months. Cuban brushed off his discussions in emails to the site, writing that they had only “texted” a few times, but the Daily Beast’s sources make it sound much more serious than that.
If Bannon is in fact encouraging Cuban to run as a Democrat, he still has some convincing to do. I would run as a “Republican before Democrat and most likely independent,” the Shark Tank host said an event in New York this week.
“I think people are looking for an independent voice, a real independent voice that at least has an inkling of what they’re talking about,” Cuban said. Asked if he would ever run as a Democrat, he said, “No, absolutely not.”
That probably makes sense. Even if Cuban were to listen to Bannon, he’d have trouble winning over a large swath of Democratic voters who knew he had listened to Bannon.
But Cuban also believes that running as an independent would boost his appeal. “I think somebody who doesn’t have a deep affiliation with either party, or with politicians, has an even greater opportunity,” he said this week.