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Why Wall Street loves Trump

There's a love-fest going on between Wall Street and Donald Trump — but not for the usual political reasons.

The truth is, Wall Street loves a circus — and Trump just brought it to town.

"The guy is hilarious," said one sales trader. "I can't wait to see what he does next."

That's the general consensus of Wall Streeters I spoke with: Trump shoots off his mouth and isn't politically correct, but a lot of folks from the investment community share his views and believe that the government is broken.

"I love the guy!" another sales trader said. "He says what everyone is thinking."

Here are the most common reasons why Wall Streeters are flirting with a Trump nomination:

  • He's entertaining.
  • He's a refreshing non-traditional candidate.
  • They see him as capable of getting the economy firing on all cylinders again.
  • They think he would cut the corporate tax rate

Even the Hillary Clinton supporters love him — they see him as a clear path to another Clinton presidency.

Donald Trump
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Donald Trump

One thing a lot of finance professionals said that was intriguing about Trump: They feel like they know him.

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Mostly because anyone who has worked at an investment bank, a hedge fund or mutual fund has had a boss similar to Mr. Trump. He's the kind of no-nonsense, results oriented, brash and compassionate (if you catch him on a good day) type of leader who has no problem firing his employees if they don't deliver. He's tough, but fair (usually).

And most prefer the devil they know.

OK, so they love him. But would they vote for him?

Not necessarily.

He's like a Cinderella story during the NCAA's March Madness basketball tournament: A lower-seeded team knocks off a couple heavyweights and dances straight to the Sweet 16. That's when everyone starts to take notice. The casual fan wants to see how far they'll go, but no one actually believes they can win it all. Until then, everyone keeps tuning in to watch.

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"I almost think he's going to bow out of the election at some point," one money manager said. "He'll just wake up one morning and say that it was all just an act to show how messed up the system is."

But, maybe …

"He's absurd, but absurdly intriguing," one trader said. "I'd never want him as my leader, but then I second guess myself and think about how at least he's honest and I know what I'm getting versus these other people who posture as saints. They are as bad — if not worse — than him."

OK, let's cut to the chase:

1. Would you vote for Trump vs. Hillary Clinton?

2. Would you vote for Trump running as Independent vs. Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee?

The first question was a resounding yes from most of these Wall Streeters. (Though, you could argue that was more of an anti-Hillary vote than a pro-Trump vote.) However, the second question was quite different and revealed the biggest concern: The possibility of Trump running as an independent.

Three-quarters of the respondents said they'd vote for the GOP nominee, but they saw it as a wasted vote because of the Trump factor.

"He lowered the level of political discourse, and he's killing the Republican Party's chances," one investment banker said. "If we want to beat Hillary; then he needs to get in line or drop out."

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As a registered Independent, I don't have a horse in this race. And regardless of who you're backing in this election, Trump should be credited for raising awareness. We're 15 months away from the presidential election and more people are communicating and caring about the country than ever before.

For now, Trump remains at the center of attention. Politics have become just like the World Wrestling Federation — it's all fake. And Trump is a fan favorite. He's like The Undertaker. His mere presence brings chills to the spines of both voters and opponents. He towers over his fellow candidates and possesses sound bites like: "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes," refereeing to Fox debate moderator Megyn Kelly, "Blood coming out of her wherever."

So throw some more popcorn in the microwave and grab a seat on the couch before the next debate.

This is gonna be good!

Commentary by Turney Duff, a former trader at the hedge fund Galleon Group. Duff chronicled the spectacular rise and fall of his career on Wall Street in the book, "The Buy Side," and is currently working on his second book, a Wall Street novel. He is also featured on the CNBC show, "The Filthy Rich Guide." Follow him on Twitter @turneyduff.