Is Michael Bloomberg The Answer?
As Democrats run around finding fatal flaws in all their Presidential candidates, a familiar face considers making a run…
Our thesis all along is the Democratic Presidential candidate will be the person who most effectively balances transformational with sane. Since this Presidential contest will be in large part a referendum on crazy. So in that context: maybe?
But let’s get one thing out of the way about Bloomberg: he’s not going to enter the race and be a big flop. He’s just not. He has enough money and intelligence to gauge in advance whether that’s likely to be the case. And if it is, he just won’t run. We really don’t think Bloomberg is so reckless to suddenly think this might be his last chance so what the hell…
So polling and data guru Nate Silver’s assertion that we should be looking at the fact Bloomberg didn’t poll well previously when lumped in with other Democratic candidates (even though he’s never actually been a candidate) is totally wrong. It bears no validity to the current situation. We don’t even think Silver is on to something when he says “media elites” categorically underestimate Biden, and Bloomberg “is…a media elite who hangs out with a lot of other media elites”.
That doesn’t mean we are Bloomberg supporters. So we wouldn’t poll well for him right now. But we could see ourselves being convinced to be. Especially if we’re somehow persuaded to forget about his enthusiastic support of “stop and frisk”. (Which Trump also happens to support!) Like an apology maybe? (Or maybe not even then.) Or an admission he made a mistake/went too far? Frankly, we don’t see him doing that…
(We’ve also written about why Elizabeth Warren is really not as scary as some people are making her out to be because she is actually a very conventional politician in many ways.)
Bloomberg’s recent modest moves don’t even mean he is running. Probably, his filing for inclusion in the Alabama primary is putting a toe in the water in order to assess interest in him as a candidate at this point in time. It’s something he can certainly afford to do, so why not?
The fact that he’s sitting on a pile of money could also be key to him jumping feet first into the December Democratic debate, should he decide to be an official candidate by then. There’s probably almost nobody else out there who could do that. And the field could be narrower by then. (Biden’s never been a well-financed candidate, but we don’t believe the bit about him being completely depleted of funds, either.)
So who does Bloomberg appeal to? He disappointed a lot of folks when he decided not to run because Joe Biden was. But he’s right in assessing Biden hasn’t really energized much of anybody since he entered the race, and his age does seem to be a factor. Yes, Bloomberg’s actually older than Biden, but he “reads” younger.
Bloomberg’s also not short on potentially inspirational ideas. First and foremost his support of gun control. But mainly he’d fall on the moderate side of things. Remember, first two times Bloomberg won as Mayor of New York, he ran as a Republican.
The rest of main criticisms against him:
- He’s rich, so he’ll protect the rich. Sure he will. But American voters don’t really seem to hate wealth in their Presidential candidates. So that’s probably not a huge minus, even with a more progressive Democratic Party.
- He’s a “billionaire busybody” as the Washington Examiner calls him, who thinks he knows better than anybody. Of course he’s an egomaniac. Anybody who looks at the job of President of the United States and says to themselves “I’m the right person for that” has to be!