Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign leaked details of a strategy designed to test the market for Hillary Clinton as his running mate to Matt Drudge on Saturday. Drudge, the founder of his news aggregate website (with millions of visitors), tweeted: “Sources close to Bloomberg campaign told DRUDGE REPORT that candidate is considering Hillary as running mate, after their polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force.”
Naturally both parties denied the rumor. Bloomberg’s campaign director, Jason Schechter, said, “We are focused on the primary and the debate, not VP speculation.” And when Clinton was asked about it on Ellen DeGeneres’ The Ellen Show, she dissembled: “Well, that’s not going to happen, but no, probably no.” However, to add clarity where none was needed, she said in the same interview, “As I say, never, never, never say never. I will certainly tell you I’m under enormous pressure from many, many people to think about it.”
Drudge added that his “source” said Bloomberg was prepared to change his residence from New York to another state to comply with the 12th Amendment, which prohibits Electoral College electors from voting for presidential and vice-presidential candidates living in the same state. Tweeted Drudge: “Bloomberg himself would go as far as to change his official residence from NY to homes he owns in CO or FL, since Electoral College makes it hard for POTUS and VPOTUS to be from the same state.”
As Michael Goodwin noted in the New York Post, “Bloomberg, remember, is a numbers guy and his team conducts polls relentlessly. Drudge says they’ve already tested the tag-team idea quietly and, liking what they saw, now want to go public and test it more broadly.”
As The New American and others have surmised, Bloomberg isn’t interested in gaining the nomination. He knows that, in the eyes of the voters, he is too old, too white, and too rich. He also knows that voters have never put a Jewish candidate into the White House. What he is interested in is keeping Biden, or any of the other survivors of the Siamese fish fight going on on stage and behind the scenes, from winning the nomination on the first ballot in Milwaukee in July. To do that he must have a strong presence on Super Tuesday (March 3) and during the upcoming debate in Phoenix on March 15. Bloomberg needs that strong performance in one more national poll to qualify for that debate.
Despite Clinton’s baggage, she brings to Bloomberg’s campaign unrivaled establishment Democratic credibility, solid support from black voters, and strong feminist credentials. It could be just the boost he needs to secure the splitting of delegates among the leaders. As pollster Nate Silver expressed it: “He doesn’t want any of the other moderates to emerge with momentum” going into the convention.
Bloomberg’s goal is simple, according to Goodwin: “Consider that some two-thirds of pledged delegates will have been awarded by the end of March. Bloomberg’s best hope — prevailing at a brokered convention — depends on having something reasonably close to the 1,991 delegates needed for a majority on the first ballot.”
If he succeeds, then Bloomberg will ride into the second ballot where all delegates, including those superdelegates that were precluded from voting in the first round, will be released from their pledges. He is already wining and dining those superdelegates to secure their support. And former president Barack Obama has let it be known that he wants to stop Sanders, and could endorse Bloomberg.
If that happens, Bloomberg will have his way in Milwaukee.
That could lead to someone without Clinton’s baggage becoming Bloomberg’s candidate of choice. Without that baggage, and with Bloomberg’s bottomless checkbook, that candidate could indeed present a formidable challenge to the president in the general election.
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