Bill Ackman Endorses Dean Phillips
Dean Phillips May Be Democrats' Best Option for Beating Trump
Bill Ackman, the billionaire head of Pershing Square Capital Management, just tweeted this long endorsement (copied verbatim below) of Congressman Dean Phillips. Phillips is running for the Democratic nomination for President. Phillips and Haley may be the only people who can prevent another Trump presidency and unite our terribly divided country. It’s time to take a careful look at both candidates.
President Biden is deeply unpopular — among Democrats — for reasons I don’t fully understand. It may simply be concern with his age and physical stamina. I think President Biden has done a great overall job, all things considered. But Biden’s running for President again appears to be a prescription for another Trump presidency.
Please read Bill Ackman’s endorsement of Phillips and consider joining Ackman in contributing to Phillips’ campaign and spreading word of Phillips’ candidacy.
Here’s Ackman’s Endorsement (Wait for It!) Dean Phillips’ Candidacy for President
“My best and favorite investments come from a deep understanding of the importance of asymmetry, that is, by understanding the potential risk and reward, and making sure that the reward overwhelming compensates for the risk. I have made some great asymmetric investments at Pershing Square, and also personally in start ups My first venture capital investment returned 1,650 times my initial investment, and I am fortunate to have had a number of other great ones, but none quite so good as the first. I have learned that the key success factor for venture investments is assessing the founder. Over time, you learn to do so after making mistakes and developing and honing the skills to identify the best talent and leadership. I have learned to do the same at Pershing Square when we need to find new leaders for great companies that have gone awry. We have a high batting average for identifying leaders, a skill which we have honed over time, by learning from successes, and from the fortunately few mistakes we have made in leader selection.
If you check our record for selecting talent, our track record has improved greatly over time to where our batting average is very high, and the rewards for hiring the right leader have been enormous. When you find the right leader and you can couple that leader with a great business that has lost its way, that's when the magic happens, and when massive value can be created. Recently, I found a great leader who is looking to run a huge business that has lost its way, where enormous value can be created, and where huge societal benefit is the resulting outcome, if the business can be turned around. The business has a great, albeit somewhat tarnished brand, massive resources, but it has been mismanaged for a long time.
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. The business is burdened with significant pension liabilities, high healthcare costs, a massive and wasteful bureaucracy, and an enormous amount of debt. 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. In order to hire this leader, we need a substantial majority of the shareholders to go along with us, as doing a turnaround like this one, requires a majority vote and a mandate for significant change.
The problem is that the incumbent CEO has a large base of support and a huge incumbency advantage because the CEO we want to hire is not known to nearly all of the shareholders. 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. While the risk is high, the reward, if we are successful, is many, many multiples of the capital, time, and energy required. The investment in the business can be structured so that there is an enormous payoff if the leader is hired, but there is a lot of uncertainty about getting the CEO appointed. I recently made a large investment in this opportunity.
The good news is that you can invest alongside me, no matter how small or large an investment you want to make. But your activism here is even more important, as it is going to drive much more value than capital. We need to win two proxy contests in a row in order to get the leader installed, and then the real work begins. If you haven't guessed by now, the business is the United States of America. 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, I am totally serious. I met Dean two months ago. I have kept in pretty close touch with him over the last two months, and spent 90 minutes with him yesterday when he presented to nearly all of our employees, which inspired me to top up my initial $3,300 donation to his campaign. On Tuesday, I am wiring $1 million to
, a political action committee that supports Dean's run. 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. 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. Now, let me tell you why I think he is the right choice, and why I think it is not only possible, but potentially is a more probable, worthwhile bet than one might expect. Dean is first an entrepreneur and a successful business leader. He is perhaps best known for bringing Belvedere Vodka to the U.S., and helping to grow the company, in partnership with his father, into a global brand, which they sold to LVMH. His second foray into consumer packaged goods was also a big success: Talenti gelato, which he sold to Unilever in 2004. I am a big fan of entrepreneurs and business leaders as they learn to overcome uncertainty, make do with limited resources, succeed despite enormous competition, and address the inevitable challenges that emerge over time. I have met, spent time with, and sat on the board alongside a number of the most talented business leaders in our country so I have developed a "spidey sense" for the most talented leaders. I am also a good judge of character and personal qualities in selecting business leaders for CEO roles. Dean is a first-class human being and person of character. He is a super-talented, highly-intelligent, and charismatic leader. And he is not just a business man. After Trump was elected, Dean decided to run for office in a Minnesota district that had not elected a Democrat since the 1950s. No one thought he had a chance, yet he won by a huge margin, and has been reelected now to a third term. Dean's character, credibility, and capabilities were recognized by his congressional colleagues, and he quickly moved from freshman congressman to leadership positions including Vice Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee, and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East, Northern Africa, and Central Asia Subcommittee. He has also successfully led important bipartisan legislation. Dean wrote the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act with Texas Republican Chip Roy, helping small businesses keep their doors open and saving thousands of American jobs. Dean has also been a voice for oversight and transparency of the trillions of pandemic-related stimulus dollars, and has led the Problem Solvers Caucus in negotiations with the White House and Congressional leadership to deliver other bipartisan solutions for the American people. A Gold Star Son who lost his birth father in the Vietnam War, Dean attended Brown University, and earned his MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Business. The nonpartisan Lugar Center ranks Dean as the 13th most bipartisan out of 435 Members of Congress, and is the second most bipartisan Democrat. He has been named a Fiscal Hero by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and was recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with the Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship in the 116th and 117th Congress. Pershing Square is ideologically and politically diverse. 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. Dean is someone that Republicans will respect and can vote for once they get to know him. He is committed to a bipartisan cabinet, and has the best shot of any of the candidates, in my opinion, to bring the country together. Dean understands that we won't get ourselves out of our fiscal mess without dramatically accelerating the growth of the country, and cutting costs. He has sensible views and ideas for addressing many of our countries most recalcitrant problems. I was impressed with both his command of what is needed to drive the economy and reduce the cost of government, in addition to his surprising command of foreign policy, which he has gleaned from his experience in the Congress and on the Foreign Affairs committee. Deans ideas make sense to me. For example, Dean believes we can eliminate the border crisis, stop the flow of illegal immigration, while preserving American values by still enabling legitimate asylum seekers to come in to the country. First, Dean believes in shutting our porous border using technology and surveillance systems combined with physical barriers where appropriate. What I didn't know until Dean explained it to us, is that the asylum exemption for coming to America is only triggered once someone physically crosses the border. This of course incentivizes migrants to cross the Rio Grande with the help of drug cartels who drain the ~$10,000 the migrants must scrape together to pay the cartels to get to America and cross the border. Dean wants to close the border to illegal immigrants, but preserve asylum by allowing migrants to apply only when they are outside our country, and admit them only when they are successful in court. He proposes that we build housing for migrants seeking asylum much more cheaply in their home country or Mexico while they wait to be processed in our system. The result is that migrants can preserve their funds that ordinarily would go to the drug cartels, giving them the initial capital to begin life in our country if and when they are approved for entry. This is but one example among many that he shared with us as he forthrightly and candidly addressed each of the questions we posed to him. Now how does he win? Dean has gone from zero to 26% in the polls for the New Hampshire primary in a matter of weeks, and I expect him to climb further and faster from here over the next 10 days before the vote. If he is as successful as I expect he will be, it will put him on the map, give him the name recognition he needs for the primaries that follow, and enable him to attract the funds and visibility he will need to succeed. Biden is polling poorly against
, and his numbers are only going to get worse as he ages, and he is not looking good as it is. There is also a reasonable chance that Biden is forced to withdraw for health reasons. 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. None of the above can happen unless Dean makes a very strong showing in New Hampshire, and that's why I am frontloading my investment in his campaign now, and why I encourage you to invest if you like what you have heard. Dean has meaningful skin in the game as he has invested $5 million of his own capital in his run. This is how democracy happens. It is tragedy if our only choices are Trump and Biden. It is up to us. Please take a hard look at Dean Phillips. If you like what you see, you can support Dean here:
And you can write an even bigger check to the PAC that supports him, which can be found here:
, And you can learn more about him by watching some or all of these videos. I thought the All-In-Podcast with Dean is perhaps the best way to get a good sense of him, his views and policies. I have provided links to short and long duration interviews, which will give you a good sense of the man: Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud Ad 2:41 minutes:”
All-In: 1 hr, 56 minutes:
Bari Weiss, 3:51 minutes:
Bill Maher: 6:45 minutes:
Megyn Kelly, 5 minutes:
Pod Save America: 1 hour, 38 minutes: