Billionaire technology investor Mark Cuban is in the political news again for calling Hillary Clinton “technologically illiterate” for the way she ran her private email account while U.S. secretary of State.
“The fact that she has not been capable of explaining this, tells me she just doesn’t understand technology, and she admits that she doesn’t understand technology,” he told WABC’s Rita Cosby. “To me that’s a huge negative, because in this day and age, I think wars are going to be fought, more by bytes, and more by cyber terrorism, than they are going to be fought by bombs and bullets, and if you don’t understand that, it’s going to be very difficult as commander-in-chief.”
Cuban also said former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg should get into the 2016 race.
Cuban’s take on 2016 doesn’t end there. On his weblog, “Blog Maverick,” last week, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks made some keen observations on the current political climate. He’s both brutal and astute. It’s just what commentators and politicians need, nine months away from election day.
A taste of those comments that dovetail with the latest:
“Wars won’t be fought with bombs and bullets as much as bytes and advanced technologies. Homeland security will be much more about machine vision, learning and Artificial Intelligence than walls,” Cuban wrote. “The future of healthcare and its cost will be much more about personalized medicine and CRISPR than trying to defund Obamacare. Do our candidates realize that when it comes to hacking, there are only 2 kinds of companies and government agencies, those who have been hacked, and those who don’t know they have been hacked?”
Times Are Changing
Even though the Democratic Party boasts two presidential candidates who are actual senior citizens, Cuban believes technology and social media are key to winning votes: “Social Media Influencers are more important than traditional political endorsements” since, for example, people these days don’t sit down and watch the nightly news (like my parents did). Instead, they scroll Facebook, check Instagram, and troll Twitter to receive news. He urges politicians to push messages out through these mediums, as opposed to just going door-to-door the old-fashioned way.
Research backs up Cuban’s claims. This month, the Pew Research Center released a study finding that 46 percent of millennials engaged in primaries learn about the election from social media sites. Democrat voters rely on social media much more heavily than do Republicans, 74 percent to 50 percent, respectively. Either way, that’s a huge swath of potential voters culling news on political candidates from social media.
Cuban urged politicians to take advantage of this: “[W]e haven’t really seen any endorsements of candidates from big time social media influencers. Any candidate that wants to win the youth vote should be more interested in getting an endorsement from Nash Grier types than traditional political influencers.”
Giving Back Is the New Black
This election cycle has focused a lot of energy on millennials, and nobody loves Bernie Sanders like millennials do (especially given New Hampshire’s primary results). Simply put, Cuban says, “SocioCapitalism is and has been Capitalism for Millennials. You haven’t been paying attention. Bernie has.”
Cuban noticed back in the mid-’90s that entrepreneurs wanted to make a profit and share their success with those in need. “Not only are 20-something entrepreneurs starting companies with a social component, twenty-something consumers are expecting a social component from companies they do business with.” Because of this, millennial support for Sanders isn’t surprising: “Socio-Capitalism is who they are and what this country will be. Whether you like it or not. To each according to their ability, from each support for those in need.”
In a column a few years ago on millennials in the workforce, Forbes contributor Barry Salzberg noted, “In their insistence on social principle, many millennials are not driven by money or success in quite the way their parents were. This generation wants to know what your organization stands for in improving society, what it stands for in action, as opposed to blowing smoke. Millennials want to know how they will make a positive difference in the world if they join your business, not by wearing a colorful T-shirt on a special project once a year but in their actual work.”
Leaders Do More than Vent
Leave it to a billionaire entrepreneur to put politicians in place on their lack of leadership skills in the political marketplace of ideas. To wit: “B—-ing about everyone else is not leadership. It may play to the base, but it certainly doesn’t reflect an ability to lead.”
“A leader would come up with new ideas and new solutions for issues that are outside what everyone is talking about and make people realize just how important they are to the country. The future of this country can’t just be about free stuff, raising taxes on the rich or cutting taxes for everyone, keeping people out and undoing what is already done.”
Cuban thinks it’s a myth that “voters are angry at Washington.” Cuban says they “never expected anything from Washington. So the concept of insiders vs outsiders, establishment vs non-establishment is really just headline fodder.” Instead, he says, that people are struggling and desperately searching for ideas on how to function in daily life, especially financially. Cuban wrote a personal “stress test” equation to describe how these things influence politics.
If Savings < (Car Insurance Deductible + Health Insurance Deductible + Expected Car Repairs + Transportation Payments + Health Insurance Payments ) = You are in deep shit
I was surprised to see Cuban say this, given his libertarian streak and well-known fondness for the free market (in this post, he writes of hope “the free market can find answers). I inquired further via his private messaging app Cyber Dust, and asked if he really thought it was a politician’s job to essentially help the modern American budget his personal finances.
He texted back, “It’s their job to understand what caused citizens stress and figure out how to lift those boats. Otherwise we risk instability in a country which costs money. I know what’s more expensive than providing help? Ferguson type riots in multiple major cities at one time. Being pragmatic is smarter than being dogmatic.”
Indeed. Mark Cuban for president in 2020, anyone?