The Democratic Party had, by my estimation, its 17,000th debate on Wednesday night, just several days before the Nevada caucus on Feb. 22 and the South Carolina primary one week later. There were a few storylines that popped up out of it, namely former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg stepping onto the debate stage for the first time this cycle and immediately getting excoriated by his opponents, most prominently Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren.
Before we dive into this extremely “the All-Star break doesn’t end for another few hours” post, I want to make something clear: We don’t really need anyone else to run for president at this point. The Republican Party has its candidate, while the field of Democratic candidates includes a democratic socialist (Bernie Sanders), a person who has aligned with both major parities and called themselves an independent (Bloomberg), and everything in-between.
Having said that, DeMarcus Cousins of the Los Angeles Lakers went onto the All the Smoke podcast and expressed that he’s told LeBron James, with whom Cousins is a teammate for the first time in his career, that he should seek out the nation’s highest office.
Cousins on LeBron James: pic.twitter.com/udtxp33GXs
— TheLakersReview (@TheLakersReview) February 20, 2020
James was asked about this on Thursday afternoon, laughing at the notion and saying that he’s not considering doing this.
LeBron James on whether he’d consider running for president pic.twitter.com/HwUS6Mr57e
— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) February 20, 2020
Obviously, LeBron James should not run for president in 2020, both because there’s a process ongoing and because, uh, he has to play basketball and that is very hard when you have to attend multiple rallies in Oklahoma and Tennessee in the same day during the lead-up to Super Tuesday. I do not think anything I just said is controversial. Where Cousins is not necessarily wrong is that if James ever sought the White House, there is a case to be made that he could do pretty well.
Much of this stems from the fact that James, in addition to being a generally likable guy (per this chart, he has a positive favorability among Democrats and Republicans), has played his professional basketball in two of the nation’s most hotly-contested swing states, Florida and Ohio. Based on the site 270toWin, had Hillary Clinton won just those two states in 2016 and everything else stayed the same, she would have defeated Donald Trump in the electoral college.
It has been some time since we’ve gotten any sort of reliable polling out of Ohio — we assume that folks in that state are tied up with the whole John Beilein thing — while the most recent poll out of Florida comes via the University of North Florida/First Coast News and shows that things are generally tight between the president and those in the Democratic field. We also got some polling on Thursday that shows Democrats are well-positioned in Michigan and Pennsylvania, although Pistons fans and Sixers fans rallying behind LeBron James seems like it might be a bit of a stretch. Also, there is a belief that Texas could be trending purple or blue as soon as 2020, and while getting a bunch of Mavericks and Spurs fans to vote for LeBron might be hard, he does have Dallas native Chris Bosh and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich potentially in his corner.
This is all, of course, very stupid, and having another unfathomably rich person running for president is probably not something the United States needs, even if James is someone who generally likes being on the right side of history on a myriad of topics — in fact, when Sanders was asked to weigh in on the GOAT debate, he cited James’ commitment to education as the reason why he picked him over Michael Jordan. Still, there’s a case to be made that James could be well-positioned in the electoral college to run somewhere down the road. Anyway, he should keep playing basketball for the foreseeable future (while, of course, using his platform to advocate for the kind of societal change and empowerment of those less fortunate that he has done for years). He’s very good at it.