Mark Cuban: Biden and Trump aren’t ‘best and brightest that this country has to offer’
Tech billionaire Mark Cuban has been an outspoken voice throughout the 2020 election process, from endorsing President-elect Joe Biden while criticizing President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 response to saying that certain aspects of “both sides scare me.”
Despite making clear his preference of Biden over Trump before this month’s presidential election, Cuban now also says he thinks that neither candidate might have actually been the best option for the White House.
“We don’t pick the best candidates,” Cuban said on the latest episode of The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, published on Tuesday. “I don’t think anybody’s here to say that Joe Biden and Donald Trump were the best and brightest that this country has to offer, or even out of the primaries from either party.”
The fact that Americans were essentially left to choose between Trump and Biden for president, the Dallas Mavericks owner added, is a negative side effect of the country’s two-party system, where the Republican and Democratic parties are the dominant forces in U.S. politics.
“We are now seeing the downside of having a political duopoly,” Cuban said on the podcast.
Cuban’s disdain of the two-party system is no secret, as the billionaire even flirted with running for president as an independent, third-party candidate for a few years before ultimately choosing not to run, saying his family vetoed the idea.
In October, Cuban said on Twitter that he would scrap the country’s two-party system, which he called “the definition of anti-competitive collusion.”
In October 2019, Cuban told Fox Business he would “get rid of all political parties,” because he thinks that they encourage Americans to only care about their party winning elections instead of focusing on actual political issues. “Everyone’s a bandwagon fan, and we don’t really get to talk about the issues,” he said.
On Thursday, Cuban wrote a plea on Twitter for his followers to think twice about donating more money to Republican or Democratic candidates in Georgia (where the two U.S. Senate races are headed for a runoff election in January in which both parties could end up spending tens of millions of dollars). On Twitter, Cuban suggested that any of his followers considering donating money to those candidates “please re-consider and donate that money to your local food bank and organizations that can help those without food or shelter.”
“Lets put Americans in need above politics,” Cuban added.
Among the replies to that tweet, some of Cuban’s followers criticized the billionaire for suggesting that people would not donate both to those political contests as well as to charities that fight hunger and homelessness. Still, Cuban followed up with a reply to his own tweet, asking his followers: “Would you rather see that additional money go to a political ad or to feed someone?”
Singer John Legend even jumped in to offer his rebuke of Cuban’s comments.
“I get that politics is annoying and contentious, but the bottom line is that the Senate flipping would be far more impactful than a food bank donation,” the singer said in a reply to the billionaire’s tweet. “We need massive stimulus and aid to individuals and small businesses. Government needs to do this. Charity isn’t sufficient … That being said, I’ll be doing both.”
And while Cuban believes that the two-party system stifles competition from potential candidates who don’t align completely with either the Democratic or Republican parties, he also thinks the current system places too much emphasis on each party trying to win elections and maintain power.
“When a party gets power, they put power first and they get in their head that they’re able to take control and use that power. And that’s a problem for the country,” Cuban says on the “Decoder” podcast.
Of course, Biden and Trump weren’t technically the only candidates on the presidential ballot in most U.S. states, as third-party candidates included the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, the Libertarian Party’s Jo Jorgensen, and even rapper Kanye West (in the 12 states where he qualified for the ballot). However, only one of those candidates managed to receive more than just 1% of the country’s popular vote (Jorgensen, with around 1.2% of all votes), as of Tuesday’s counting.
In other words, the choice typically comes down to a Democrat or a Republican, as the last third-party candidate to win more than even 5% of the country’s popular vote was the Reform Party’s Ross Perot in 1992 (he won almost 19% of the vote but didn’t carry a single state).
Before Cuban endorsed Biden and called him “the right choice for business” at the beginning of November, Cuban had previously criticized both Biden and Trump. He explained to CNBC Make It in May that he saw both candidates as “technologically illiterate at a time when technology is the most impactful tool we have to compete economically, medically and militarily in the world.”
However, Cuban ultimately said in a recent Instagram Live interview that Biden would provide more stability to the country’s businesses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, claiming that Trump’s “botched” response to the pandemic has hurt struggling businesses across the country.
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”