Mark Cuban has always been game for a challenge. Take over the moribund Dallas Mavericks and turn them into NBA champions? Check. Figure out a way to deliver live broadcasts over this newfangled thing called the Internet? Check. (And collect a check, too, for $5 billion and change.)
Now after stumping for Hillary Clinton in 2016 — more as an antidote to Donald Trump‘s insurgent candidacy than as a fan of the Democratic platform — Cuban is again being talked about as a presidential candidate himself in 2020. At Business Insider’s Ignition Conference, Cuban hardly shot down the idea of entering the POTUS fray. You could sense his billionaire spidey sense tingling at the notion of being able to participate in the presidential debates and make his case directly to the American people.
Cuban has said he won’t run as a Democrat, and the Republicans, as of today, already have a candidate in Trump, so that leaves only the Independent path to the presidency. Running as an Independent suits Cuban just fine, of course, stylistically — he’s nothing if not an independent thinker. Hey, his basketball team is called the Mavericks. And Cuban is financially positioned to go it alone. (Note: other billionaires who might try it include Howard Schultz of Starbucks riches and Michael Bloomberg, though the former mayor of New York has said the Independent route isn’t for him.)
The problem that Independent candidates have had historically — and which Cuban is well-aware of — is the two-party system domination. But some smart people believe that the Internet may provide ways to upend this status quo — and Cuban, as an Internet entrepreneur first and foremost, is in a strong position to utilize the technology at hand. He could self-finance a POTUS run, using data to calculate the efficiency of his spend probably better than any candidate in history.
One roadblock, Cuban admits, could be his three kids, who are a big priority in his life. He jokingly (but seriously too) called running for president “the definition of bad parenting.” Yet the chance to participate in the rough and tumble of the debates may be too much for the highly competitive Cuban to turn down.
Interesting note: The last Independent candidate for president to make a real impact (besides Ralph Nader‘s controversial disruption in 2000) was a Texan like Cuban. In the 1992 presidential election H. Ross Perot, another billionaire digital entrepreneur, won 18.9 percent of the popular vote. Perot and Cuban are linked in other ways, too: Cuban bought the Mavericks from Perot’s son, Ross Perot Jr., in 2000.