Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent his staff scurrying off to Alabama to make sure his nascent run for the presidency as a Democrat would meet Friday’s deadline. Bloomberg demurred from making his announcement official until next week.
But Bloomberg’s campaign advisor, Howard Wolfson, made it sound as if the decision had already been made: “Mike believes that Donald Trump represents an unprecedented threat to our nation. [After spending millions to help elect Democrats in the midterms Michael needs] to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated. But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.”
Wolfson tweeted the foundational principles upon which Bloomberg’s campaign would be based: “He would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city [Bloomberg served as a three-term mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013], building a business from scratch [Bloomberg L.P., a global financial services empire that has made Bloomberg the ninth-richest person in the United States with a net worth in excess of $50 billion] and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist [providing funding for Moms Demand Action, the Left’s answer to the National Rifle Association; supporting climate-change activists; providing campaign funding for progressive candidates, etc.].
The New York Times called Bloomberg’s decision a “seismic disruption.” Just when it appeared that Joe Biden had successfully survived a scare from Elizabeth Warren in recent polling and was now headed into the public debates as the clear front-runner, along comes Bloomberg with enough money to challenge Biden for his perceived role as a “centrist” or “moderate” in contrast to the far-left candidates such as Warren and Sanders.
A Bloomberg aide told Politico that while Bloomberg initially thought Biden would be strong enough to take on Trump in the general election next year, Biden’s fading mental health and finances forced Bloomberg to reconsider. In addition, the far-left policies being offered by progressives Warren and Sanders aren’t attractive to the average American voter. Said the aide: “[Mike] is worried about the state of the Democratic primary campaign and the possibility that we could lose in November. He wants to avoid that more than anything else.”
Democrat political strategist David Axelrod agrees with Bloomberg: “There’s no question that … Biden is [just] occupying space, and the fact that [Bloomberg] is getting in is a clear indication that he’s not convinced Biden has the wherewithal to carry that torch.”
As Philip Klein wrote in the Washington Examiner: “[Bloomberg] has been watching the nomination battle play out [and] sees an elderly and bumbling Joe Biden on one hand and a bunch of leftists proposing insane things that could make them unelectable on the other hand.”
Bloomberg faces many challenges in wresting the nomination away from any of the current front-runners despite his announced commitment of $100 million of his own to money to his campaign. For one, he’s 77 (he turns 78 in February), nine months older than Biden. Second, polls show that 85 percent of Democratic voters are happy with the current field of aspirants. Third, as a billionaire he makes a perfect target for Warren and Sanders, who have repeatedly vilified people of substantial wealth.
In addition, Bloomberg isn’t popular among Democrats. A Monmouth University poll in March found that he was disliked by just about as many Democrats as liked him — 27 percent to 26 percent — with nearly half either having no opinion or never having heard of him. A more recent poll by Fox News showed that only six percent of Democrat primary voters said they would vote for him, while 32 percent said they would never vote for him.
Because he will be self-funding his campaign, Bloomberg won’t be invited to many of the remaining debates, which require certain minimum levels of grassroots support to be invited.
Nevertheless his “seismic disruption” could hand the election to Trump next November simply by siphoning off enough votes from Biden to give Warren the nomination. And as The New American just noted, the latest New York Times poll results released on Monday show Trump thumping either Warren or Sanders among “likely” voters in the general election next year.
Photo: AP Images