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Negreanu: "The Only Guy Who Can Beat Hilary is Marco Rubio"
Primaries for the 2016 election in the US are off to a buzzworthy start.
With favorites emerging already in Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton it looks like a very polarizing and contentious election building for November.
Canada's most famous poker export, Daniel Negreanu, has long expressed his opinions on American politics but last year took steps to gain American citizenship, meaning he's finally eligible to vote as well.
If you follow his Twitter timeline it's pretty clear how he feels about the candidates on both sides.
We caught up with him last month to talk about the primaries, unlikable Democrats and crazy Republicans, and his pick for the next POTUS.
PokerListings: Do you think Donald Trump has a shot at becoming president?
Daniel Negreanu: Zero. I would bet a lot of money on that. In fact, I’m going to bet a lot of money on it.
I look at it this way: His base, as big as it is right now, isn’t going to grow. As others go out of the way their votes won’t go to him.
Because if they wanted to vote for Trump, they already would. He’s had all the exposure. He was on TV non-stop, so everyone knows him.
If you don’t like him now, you never will. Let’s say you vote for Christie, and he gives up, then your vote is not going to Trump.
It may go to Rubio or somebody else, but not to him, as it would already be there.
PL: There seem to be one or two other candidates trying to follow in Trump’s footsteps.
DN: Ted Cruz is crazy. He’s crazier than Trump. In fact when Trump entered the race it made him look less crazy.
Cruz is going as right-wing as possible and he hopes that when Trump goes out, his votes will go to him.
PL: But you don’t think it could go the other way round?
DN: Cruz isn’t going anywhere. He’ll be very deep in that race but eventually he’s going to fail. I think Rubio’s going to win the Republican candidacy.
Trump can’t win - not because any other guy will collect all the votes, but also because the election is a year away.
What’s Trump going to do? People will get tired of his tirades. So, he’s going to build a wall and keep the Muslims out. Ok, we get that. What else?
The politicians of the Republican Party are sooner or later going to say 'we want to win the general election, don’t we. So, who can win? Trump can’t.
'He’ll never beat Hilary, because the vast majority especially in larger states don’t believe that all the Muslims should be left out and that all Mexicans are rapists.'
The only guy who can beat Hilary is Marco Rubio. I think he’s the best politician of the Republicans to collect voters on the right, but then also come back to the middle and find voters there, too.
PL: Is Trump maybe even hurting the Republican Party?
DN: He’s embarrassing them. He changes the conversation to his own topics, like immigration, but that’s not what the Party wants to talk about.
They want to talk about financial stability, financial crisis, education, but he doesn’t allow it. It’s frustrating, and there’s never been anything like this before.
PL: He likes to say “You know, I’m very rich.”
DN: Yes, and he said he started with a small loan from his father. That small loan was a million dollars! In the seventies!
I’d be a billionaire if I’d had that. Who wouldn’t? It doesn’t take a genius.
Things like that really don’t relate to people today who make $30,000 or $40,000 a year, as for them a small loan is $20.
He says he made all his money himself but he started out with his father’s money.
PL: If you look at the Democrats don’t you think that people might get tired of Hilary Clinton, too?
DN: I don’t think people consider her likable. She’s very rigid and it’s awkward when she laughs.
But ultimately the majority of the US citizens are with her on social issues. They are for gay marriage and abortion, and as long as the Republicans don’t turn their attention to social issues, the majority will be with her.
It’s the same with economic issues, and obviously she’s clearly the best prepared for this job. The Republicans are throwing dirt at her, what with she lied about Benghazi, and there is that email affair, but nothing really came out of it.
At the end of the day, if she hasn’t done anything criminal, she’ll still be the best for the job. Except as I said, maybe Rubio.
PL: Does Bernie Sanders have a chance? People seem to like him.
DN: Not a chance. I like him, too. He’s the most honest, the most genuine person in the race, I think.
But I wish he would say more things that I like, too. Sometimes he’s so extreme that you wonder if he doesn’t realize that, with this, he’s never going to win.
Because too many people are afraid of Socialism, although they don’t know what the term even means.
I come from Canada, which is a Socialist country as well, and there actually is Socialism in the States, but people don’t even realize it.
Social security is Socialism, the Fire Department is Socialism. But people hear Socialism, and they think Communism, and they think Russia, and they think, 'no good.'
PL: From a European point of view Trump is ludicrous, but it’s scary how easy people follow him and that he could be the head of one of the most powerful nations on Earth.
DN: The scary thing about him is how he’s become the voice of American racists. There’s a group of very angry, jaded people who suffer because the world doesn’t look like in 1950 anymore.
In 1950 if you were a welder or something, you would get a job. 65 years later the world looks different and so does the job market, so these people don’t find jobs easily anymore.
So, they need somebody whose fault it is, and they bring in the Mexicans and the Muslims, but it’s not even about any of them. It’s just that the world changed. There are an incredible amount of parallels between the way Trump uses propaganda and the way Hitler did.
Luckily, the majority of our society are more progressive, more evolved, so they won’t buy into that. Trump may win in some of the Southern states, but he’ll never take the big states like California.
Personally, I don’t know a single person who’d want to vote for Trump. Apparently, they live in a different society. I can tell you for sure that none of the players in the Super High Roller event of the PCA would vote for him.