I’m not quite sure what to make of Micheal Bloomberg’s decision to run for the Democratic nomination – and I’m assuming that he wouldn’t have registered for the Alabama primary before the deadline if he wasn’t serious about running. So let’s just say for the sake of argument that he is and be done with it.
So, what’s Bloomberg up to? Does he actually think he can win the nomination, especially since he plans on skipping the first four states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina? Certainly he has the financial resources to compete in all the other states. And if he can hold his own on Super Tuesday, he does have a path – albeit a small one – to the nomination.
But the real question is why? Why would Bloomberg do this? Why would a man who earns more in an hour than most people earn in a month go to all the trouble to run for a nomination that only a few months earlier he said he had no chance of winning?
There’s only one reason, and one reason alone, why Bloomberg would be willing to part with millions of dollars of his own money. He’s worried about Joe Biden. Like a lot of Democrats, he doesn’t think Biden has what it takes to go the distance. And if Biden does indeed fade, that means Elizabeth Warren wins the nomination. And that could spell disaster for Democrats next November.
But here’s the thing: if Bloomberg is so concerned about Warren winning the nomination, why then would he make the center lane more crowded? Think about it for a moment. Bernie Sanders and Warren have the left lane all to themselves. Now you have Bloomberg sharing the center lane with Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris. Even if you suck at math it’s pretty hard not to notice that five is a bigger number than two. This is a clusterfuck waiting to happen.
And all this is due to the fact that Trump has concocted this bullshit story about Biden’s son, Hunter, that has sadly gained traction over the last few weeks. Imagine that: the guy who sold his oath of office in order to gain a political advantage over a rival has the balls to accuse Biden of being corrupt. Now that’s rich!
Even if Biden overcomes it to win the nomination, it will dog him in the general. If you’re having flashbacks to 2016, when another Democratic nominee got tripped up by a controversy not all of her own doing, you’re not alone. Before he’s done with him, Trump’ll have half the country believing Biden is Al Capone incarnate. Already Republicans are calling for Hunter to be called to testify in the Senate impeachment trial. If that happens, this will turn into a circus real quick.
I have no doubt that Bloomberg is thinking the same thing. The only questions that remain are whether Biden will take the hint and bow out now before this unravels on him and the party, and whether Bloomberg can win not only the nomination but also the general.
Regarding the former, I’m not sure Biden will pull out, not unless someone he respects deeply, say a certain former president for whom he used to work, calls him up and begs him to do so. Barring that, I think he’s too proud to quit. For starters, he genuinely believes he’s the best candidate in a head to head matchup against Trump, and for the moment, the polls back him up. For another, think about the precedent that would be set if Biden withdrew from the race. It would mean that Trump could literally determine which opponent he wants to run against, and which one he DOESN’T. That would be an extraordinary development in presidential politics. Hey, don’t like a certain matchup? No problem. Just pull something out of your ass about him or her, and presto, a new, better matchup.
Welcome to the world according to Trump, where a corrupt president can do whatever the fuck he wants and get away with it, courtesy of an attorney general who acts more like a consigliere and a Republican Party devoid of any spine or soul. Whether or not you like Joe Biden, or whether or not you even agree with his policy proposals, what is happening to him here is an existential threat to the United States. If it is allowed to succeed, this will have profound consequences for the Republic going forward.
Which brings me to the second, and perhaps most important, question. Can Bloomberg win the nomination AND the general election? That depends on whether he can gain any traction with blue-collar voters. As of now, Biden appears to have a lock on them. But let’s assume for the moment that he can and manages to pick up enough delegates to eek out a narrow victory for the nomination, Bloomberg has a compelling case for why he should be the next president.
For starters, unlike Trump, Bloomberg is actually worth the money he says he is. And he can definitely outspend Trump in what promises to be the most expensive presidential election in history. And then there’s Bloomberg’s record, which, when you look at it closely, is really quite impressive. He’s a successful business man AND a successful mayor, as opposed to Trump, who’s a con artist that declared bankruptcy four times and, as president, hasn’t done jack shit in three years. Yeah, I think that’s a fight Bloomberg wants and believes he can win fairly easy.
Are there issues with Bloomberg? Yes, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge them. While Trump is by far the least empathetic president we’ve ever had, Bloomberg isn’t exactly Mr. Congeniality. The man’s about as warm and fuzzy as an ice cube in the Arctic Circle. It’s going to be a hard sell to get people excited about him. And if I’m not mistaken, that was Hillary’s main problem. When it came right down to it, Trump voters were far more enthusiastic about him than Hillary voters were about her. You can’t overstate enough the enthusiasm gap Dems had in 2016 and could have again in 2020.
Then there’s Bloomberg’s ego, which is only slightly smaller than Trump’s. The man moved heaven and earth to get New York City to change its rules on term limits in order to run for a third term as its mayor. If he wins the Democratic nomination there will be more testosterone on that debate stage than there is in a WWE match.
Bloomberg’s position on guns, which is considerably better than, say, Beto O’Rourke, who literally wanted to take them away from people, and the environment is to the right of both Warren and Sanders, and that will help him with moderates who don’t like how far the party has drifted to the left. And he is decidedly to the right of Warren and Sanders on taxes. A social liberal and an economic moderate: he’d be the party’s first centrist nominee since Bill Clinton.
Can he win? A lot of things have to fall into place in order for that to happen, but no one should make the mistake of thinking this is all just a publicity stunt. Billionaires are famous for two things: making a shitload of money and holding onto it. If Bloomberg does indeed officially enter the race, I have no doubt that he’ll be in it to win.
One thing’s for certain: I wouldn’t bet against him. Trump won’t, that’s for sure.