Aside from getting people to talk about Michael Bloomberg,
Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is apparently about one thing: making sure that America’s political and financial establishment don’t lose control of the country to those damn primary voters after all. That’s the only thing I can gather from reading things like this:
If Republicans were to nominate Mr. Trump or Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a hard-line conservative, and Democrats chose Mr. Sanders, Mr. Bloomberg — who changed his party affiliation to independent in 2007 — has told allies he would be likely to run.
Edward G. Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and a past Democratic National Committee chairman, said he believed Mr. Bloomberg could compete in the race if activist candidates on the left and right prevailed in the party primaries.
“Mike Bloomberg for president rests on the not-impossible but somewhat unlikely circumstance of either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz versus Bernie Sanders,” said Mr. Rendell, a close ally of Mrs. Clinton’s who is also a friend of Mr. Bloomberg’s. “If Hillary wins the nomination, Hillary is mainstream enough that Mike would have no chance, and Mike’s not going to go on a suicide mission.”
In a three-way race featuring Mr. Sanders and Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Rendell said he might back the former New York mayor.
“As a lifelong Democrat, as a former party chairman, it would be very hard for me to do that,” he said. “But I would certainly take a look at it — absolutely.”
Assume that Michael Bloomberg can win the presidency as an independent–a big assumption no matter who gets nominated by the parties, but roll with it–why not just run? Why float all this “I’ll run if the parties don’t nominate the Right Sort of Person” stuff? Admittedly, this isn’t a question I’ve spent a long time pondering (about the last 30 seconds, to be honest), but has a potential third party candidate ever pulled this “nice primary, it’d be a shame if something was to happen to it” move before?
The more candidates the merrier, if you ask me. But Bloomberg isn’t a candidate, at least not yet, so much as he’s a threat. And since a Bloomberg candidacy is more likely to throw the election to the Republican nominee than it is to throw it to the Democrat or to actually end with a President Bloomberg, the people he’s really threatening are Democratic primary voters. Nominate Hillary Clinton or else say hello to President Trump, I guess. Certainly that’s the way Clinton is portraying it. To me, Bloomberg’s attempt to put his finger on the Democratic Party’s primary scales is more offensive than if he’d just announce that he’s running, although I’m not sure I can fully articulate why I feel that way.
Anyway, maybe I’m underestimating Bloomberg’s appeal, but I just don’t see yet another New York billionaire, this one running on a “LEAVE WALL STREET ALONE DAMMIT” platform, getting a lot of traction in 2016, even if he does have billions of dollars he can drop on the race. He will give a lot of center-left squishes who embrace liberal social policies but get the willies at the idea of raising taxes or spending money to make life a little better for the poor and workers an alternative to Sanders, if Sanders somehow gets nominated. I’m sure the No Labels crowd will love him, but there’s just not enough of those folks to get somebody elected president.
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