Businessman Mark Cuban has beef with party primaries, blaming the system for lawmakers’ short-term thinking.
Mr. Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, lamented the shortcomings of primaries after Nate Silver, founder of the FiveThirtyEight political statistics website, said on social media that 30% of the problem with politics is that elected leaders have “much-too-short time horizons.”
“How else do you expect the 2 dominant players in a duopoly to act?” Mr. Cuban said in response. “The 1st rule of the market share leader is always to retain power.”
“To retain power you have to win primaries,” he said. “Until we change how we elect, there will be no long-term thinking.”
The “Shark Tank” star was giving voice to the widespread notion that the primary system is broken and has pulled elected leaders further and further to the left or right in their respective nomination races.
People that buy into that line of thinking say it has poisoned debates on Capitol Hill, including in the ongoing fight over raising the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.
For his part, Mr. Cuban has flirted with entering the political ring in years past but has taken a pass, saying party primaries breed divisiveness.
He has promoted ranked-choice voting and open primaries as a way to elect “better candidates” and move politicians away from “extreme” views.
“When you talk about divisiveness, think about primaries,” Mr. Cuban said at an Axios event last year. “So few people vote in primaries that the people who do vote are the ones with the most extreme views, so the politicians have to pander.”
• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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