Speed Reads

hedging your bets?

Stephen Bannon is reportedly urging Mark Cuban to run for president in 2020

Stephen Bannon has repeatedly encouraged Shark Tank host and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to consider running for president as a Democrat in 2020, The Daily Beast reports.

"They talk regularly," said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump adviser who is close to Bannon. "They're very similar. They have a lot of synergy there. Even when [Bannon] went to work for Trump, Mark would be interviewed and say nice things about Steve." [The Daily Beast]

Cuban confirmed to The Daily Beast that he and Bannon, who has returned to his position leading Breitbart News after departing the White House this summer, have exchanged text messages, but claimed that none of them had "been more than a full sentence."

During the 2016 presidential election, Cuban was a vocal critic of Trump, calling the future president "bats--t crazy" — though there was a time when Cuban believed his fellow TV host was "probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long time." On Thursday, Cuban spoke at The New York Times DealBook Conference and said that if he ran for president, it would be as a "Republican before Democrat, and most likely independent." In the past, Cuban has been critical of the GOP's position on social issues, and has expressed support for single-payer health care.

Although Bannon and Cuban may seem like odd political bedfellows, Bannon's self-declared war on the GOP establishment and his attempts at building bridges with liberal figures like Randy Weingarten, the president of America's top teachers union, and Sen. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) show that the Breitbart executive chairman is hardly a party loyalist. And as The Daily Beast notes, "as Bannon and Cuban have corresponded, the latter has received largely favorable coverage from Breitbart News."