Billionaire businessman David Rubenstein argued Friday at the World Economic Forum that former President Trump would likely win “if the election were held today.”
Rubenstein, the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, appeared on a closing panel at the forum in Davos, Switzerland. He was asked by Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua, “David, a number of leaders have expressed concern of what Donald Trump in the White House means for fragmentation, for foreign policy. Is there any way that the rest of the world can Trump-proof their economies?”
“Ummm, if somebody has a way to do that, I think they should patent it and probably sell it to somebody else,” Rubenstein began. “It’d be very difficult to do.”
He went on to note his surprise at how Trump, rather than being hindered by his political trials, actually rose in popularity to the point he is the most likely opponent for incumbent President Biden.
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“Clearly, the biggest political change that occurred in the United States last year also was unpredictable — or unpredicted, I should say,” he said. “I don’t think anybody outside of that Trump family would have predicted that Donald Trump would be indicted 4 times, 91 counts on various indictments, and that his popularity would soar to the point where he has a reasonably good chance of locking up the Republican nomination by March, which is earlier than almost any contested presidential candidate has been able to lock up the Republican nomination.”
“If he is nominated,” Rubenstein said, it would be “the first time ever that a Republican Party has nominated the same person three times in a row. He clearly has a following that many of the analysts missed, and I don’t think any of the court cases are likely to change his momentum. So I think people should recognize that he’s a serious political force and should not discount the fact that he could well be elected again, despite the fact that many people in Europe, where we are now, are not really his biggest fans.”
Both Trump and Biden, he argued, are viable contenders this year.
“And so I wouldn’t rule out his possibly getting elected again. Joe Biden shouldn’t be discounted. Obviously, we have two older candidates. People have suggested to me that I should run for president,” he joked. “I say, ‘I’m only 74 and you need be older to run.’”
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He then laid out the numbers for why Trump may have a stronger chance in the 2024 election.
“The final comment is, in our country, in the last two presidential elections, 45 states out of the 50 voted exactly the same way in each of those two elections. Only five states voted differently. Those five states are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” he said. “Those five states are the only ones that voted differently in those two elections. Right now, Donald Trump is ahead in all five of those states.”
This, Rubenstein asserted, is noteworthy and an indication that Trump is winning as of today.
“He lost all five of those states last time. Hillary Clinton lost those five states as well, Biden won them last time,” he told the reporter. “So everything will get down to those five states and right now, if the election were held today, it would be difficult to see how Trump would lose that election today, but it’s a long way away. And the most important thing you can say about presidential elections in our country is things change all the time and we won’t know for sure, probably until about a month before the election, where it’s really going to go.”