CV NEWS FEED // Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman announced he is giving $1 million to Minnesota Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips, who is challenging President Joe Biden for the presidency.
The investor pledged his support of Phillips in a lengthy X (formerly Twitter) post Saturday night in which he metaphorically referred to the country as a “huge business.”
“Recently, I found a great leader who is looking to run a huge business that has lost its way,” Ackman wrote a few paragraphs into the more-than 2,000-word post.
“The business has a great, albeit somewhat tarnished brand, massive resources, but it has been mismanaged for a long time,” he continued:
The result of all of the above is that the business’ growth has slowed; its competitive position has deteriorated; its culture has become divided into warring factions, it is losing money, and only makes ends meet by additional borrowings, which explains a recent credit downgrade.
“There is a large amount of work to do, and it is going to be a major turnaround effort, but I believe I have found the right leader to make it happen,” Ackman wrote.
The “incumbent CEO has a large base of support and a huge incumbency advantage,” Ackman wrote of Biden:
The current CEO is well past his prime, and if he were available in the market for other opportunities, he would have no chance of getting any job, let alone be hired to run a business of this scale and quality.
“If you haven’t guessed by now, the business is the United States of America,” Ackman continued:
You might be even more surprised to hear that the CEO I am looking to help hire is Dean Phillips … a 54-year-old, three-term Congressman from Minnesota who launched a run for the Democratic nomination on October 27th, last year. And he has limited nationwide name recognition.
“This is not a joke,” emphasized Ackman. “I am totally serious.”
Ackman explained that he had scheduled a million-dollar contribution to wedeserve.org, a political action committee (PAC) backing Phillips’ candidacy.
“This is by far the largest investment I have ever made in someone running for office, and I am making this investment at a high-risk, but critically important moment for his campaign,” the billionaire wrote:
I am doing so because I believe that Dean Phillips would be a truly outstanding President of the United States, and I believe he has a credible path to winning the nomination despite what the oddsmakers may think.
Ackman then highlighted the congressman’s previous business background as one of the reasons for his support.
“The nonpartisan Lugar Center ranks Dean as the 13th most bipartisan out of 435 Members of Congress, and is the second most bipartisan Democrat,” added Ackman:
One of the inspirations for my increased support for Dean is how well he resonated with the Republicans and more right-leaning members of our company, in addition to the centrists and Democrats in the room, when he visited us yesterday.
He is an extremely charismatic and appealing leader. He exudes authenticity, and is direct and no BS in his answers to questions and his ideas for our country’s future.
Toward the end of his post, Ackman pointed out that the incumbent president “is polling poorly against” his likely general election opponent former President Donald Trump.
“[Biden’s] numbers are only going to get worse as he ages, and he is not looking good as it is,” Ackman further noted:
As Dean rises in the polls and Biden deteriorates, the Democratic party is going to have to choose a candidate that can beat the Republican nominee. If by then, as I expect, Dean is polling substantially better than Biden against Trump, I predict that the party will choose Dean Phillips over Biden. The party will have no choice.
“It is [a] tragedy if our only choices are Trump and Biden,” the billionaire concluded. “It is up to us.”
“Please take a hard look at Dean Phillips,” he urged before providing links to Phillips’ campaign website, PAC, and several of the congressman’s interviews.
As of January 16, the FiveThirtyEight national polling average for the Democratic primary field has Biden with a commanding lead of 69.8% of the vote. Far-left author Marianne Williamson is in second place at 6.1%, followed by Phillips at 3.5%.
In New Hampshire, where the Phillips campaign is focusing much of its resources, an American Research Group poll from last week shows the congressman trailing the president by 30 points – with 28% of support compared to Biden’s 58%.
New Hampshire is set to hold its Democratic Primary next Tuesday, January 23, the same day as the state’s Republican Primary.
In protest against the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s decision to maintain the state’s tradition of holding its primary before South Carolina’s, Biden has decided to remove his name from the ballot for the contest. However, he is still running as a write-in candidate.
Both Phillips’ and Williamson’s names will appear on the New Hampshire ballot.
“While Phillips is unlikely to replace Biden as the Democratic nominee, his campaign underscores the hurdles facing Biden in 2024,” reported The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Duehren on Sunday. “Voters are pessimistic about the economy, despite data showing its resilience, and are broadly unsatisfied with both Biden and Trump.”
POLITICO Senior Campaigns and Elections Editor Steven Shepard wrote in late October: “The danger for Biden … isn’t that Phillips is a threat in the primary,” but
that a Phillips candidacy could further expose a major Biden vulnerability at a time when the president is desperate to shore up his poll numbers in battleground states ahead of a likely general-election rematch with former President Donald Trump.
A poll of Democratic primary voters last month indicated that a majority wanted to replace Biden as the party’s nominee. As CatholicVote reported at the time:
Fifty-four percent of the party’s primary voters said they would prefer an alternative to Biden, [a] FOX News poll found. Only 43% wanted Biden to remain at the helm.
Despite this finding, Biden maintains a large polling lead in the race for the Democratic nomination. However, the same is not true for general election polls, where the embattled sitting president is running either behind or even with Trump – as well as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former ambassador Nikki Haley.
The website of the PAC to which Ackman donated bills the congressman as “Our best bet to beat Trump.”
As of January 16, Ackman has a net worth of $4 billion, making him the 726th richest person in the world.
Last year, he spoke favorably about the now-ended campaign of fellow businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Ackman’s interest in the Republican Ramaswamy surprised many observers, given the billionaire’s long history of supporting Democratic candidates.