A year has passed since the 2016 election, and with the political climate as volatile as it's ever been, people are already starting to speculate about who may be preparing to run for president in 2020.
One surprising possibility is Texas business leader and philanthropist Mark Cuban, who has long been outspoken in his criticism of President Trump. In a New York Times interview this past weekend, Cuban didn't rule it out when Maureen Dowd asked if he was considering a run. "I would put the odds against it right now for family reasons, but there is still plenty of time."
The profile made some interesting points about a possible Cuban presidency:
The question of whether he'd run as a Republican or an independent.
Cuban is registered as an independent and says that would be his preference, but given the poor track record of independent candidates in modern times--"You just become a spoiler like Ross Perot--he would likely lean toward running as a Republican.
The advantage of "the edge."
Cuban has been described as "Trump without the crazy." And his background does have quite a bit in common with the current president, combining business, investing and reality TV. He calls Trump "batty"--and Trump, in turn, has called him "an arrogant, crude, dope." But Cuban has also been quick to admit that you gain an edge when "people think you're crazy and they are right, but you don't care what they think."
The need for a strong agenda.
Despite Trump's record so far, Cuban believes a business person can be effective in public office. "It's about what you do with it," Cuban says, "what you learn, what you can contribute and what value you can add. I'd want to come in with proof of an agenda."
What it will take to win.
After a Trump presidency, Cuban predicts, people will look for somebody who can get things done, knows business but is also familiar with policy. The next president, he says, will need to be less a salesperson and more a problem solver, someone who has more answers than questions.
Whether he ends up running or not, Cuban's views make for an interesting early view of the race and the likely mood of the country.
Of course, this early in the game there's no way to predict who the candidates will be in 2020, or what issues will be at the top of Americans' concerns. But it's never too soon to start thinking about the qualities that potential candidates bring and how they will fare against the challenges we face. As we do, it may be helpful to weigh those who may be running through the principles described in my most recent book, The Leadership Gap.
If you can step outside of the usual binary political analysis--Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative--to identify each candidate in terms of their leadership style and gaps, looking at the areas that may or may not align with who you are and what you want for yourself, for your children and for the future, it may help simplify the challenging job of being an informed voter.
And it's never too soon to start.