Wall Street Wants Anyone But Biden and Trump for 2024

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(Bloomberg) -- Wall Street leaders are looking past President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, the presumed major party nominees, for long-shot candidates to shake up the 2024 election less than two months before primary voting starts.

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said Wednesday that voters should support former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as one potential alternative to Trump for the GOP nomination.

“Even if you’re a very liberal Democrat, I urge you, help Nikki Haley too,” Dimon said at the New York Times Dealbook Summit.

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday that Biden should step aside for a new candidate to emerge. One person he’s watching is Representative Dean Phillips, a moderate from Minnesota, who is challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination.

“Biden’s done a lot of good things. But I think his legacy will not be a good one if he is the nominee,” Ackman said in an upcoming episode of The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations. “The right thing for Biden to do is to step aside, and to say he’s not going to run, and create the opportunity for some competition.”

Mike Novogratz, the chief executive officer of crypto firm Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd., told Bloomberg Television Wednesday his friends are urging him to meet with Haley. He also met with Phillips and found him to be “amazingly rational,” but lamented he doesn’t have the name recognition of other candidates. Novogratz himself mistakenly called Phillips Neil, instead of Dean, in the interview.

“I’m kind of in the anything but crazy or really old party,” Novogratz, who has historically donated to Democrats, said. “I pledged I would not vote for anyone over 75 years old, or even 72.”

The eleventh-hour push to boost other candidates is unlikely to alter the outcome of the nominating process. Party rules, fundraising and polling numbers have Haley and Phillips facing long odds. But the desire for alternatives highlights the deep dissatisfaction many voters have with frontrunners Biden and Trump, raising questions about whether Americans will vote for third-party candidates or just stay home next November.

Haley, 51, has risen in the polls and won the support of prominent donors, including the Americans for Prosperity network backed by billionaire Charles Koch. Citadel’s Ken Griffin has praised her campaign and said he’s considering donating. Still, she trails Trump by a significant margin. In Iowa, the first state in the Republican nominating process, Trump leads with 47% support, while Haley is at 14.3%, according to a RealClearPolitics average.

Phillips, 54, faces an even more challenging road. He is polling in the single-digits and the Democratic National Committee is already partnering with Biden’s campaign. Phillips aims to capitalize on polls showing voter concerns over Biden’s fitness to serve, with the incumbent already the oldest US president in history at 81.

Ackman, the Pershing Square Capital Management founder, said he recently met Phillips and was “impressed.”

“You need to be at your intellectual best. And I don’t think Biden is there,” Ackman, 57, said “I don’t say that, you know, with any derision of the president,” he continued. “But I think he’s clearly past his physical and cognitive peak.”

Biden’s allies say the focus on his age is unfair and the president is healthy enough to serve. Trump, 77, also faces his own challenges, including multiple criminal indictments.

Ackman, who has traditionally donated to Democrats, said he is “much more open to Republican candidates” than reelecting Biden. He said he’s supportive of Haley and ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He also donated to entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, but said his policies fell short.

Ackman said he’s potentially open to running for office, but said “the country would have to ask me as opposed to me putting myself out there.”

Dimon has run JPMorgan for almost 18 years. The 67-year-old has long quipped he plans to stay in his role for five more years, no matter when asked. He’s faced speculation he might run for president, which he’s denied.

Ackman, at the Dealbook conference, asked Dimon from the audience what he would do if he were president.

“The first thing I’d do is probably have a cabinet with really smart talented brainy people. You might be secretary of Treasury,” Dimon replied to laughter.

--With assistance from Sonali Basak and Hannah Levitt.

(Updates with Novogratz comments starting in sixth paragraph)

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