OK, I suppose I get it, sort of. When you’re an extremely wealthy white man, the world is your oyster. Therefore, from Michael Bloomberg’s unbelievably high perch, it probably seems perfectly natural for him to assume that he’d make a great president of the United States. He might just as easily imagine that he’d be welcomed into the Democratic primaries with open arms. Bloomberg might think that he’d actually be doing the Dems — and the country — a favor, saving us from Liz, Bernie, Biden and Trump, all at the same time.
Bloomberg would be, by the way, the FIFTH major candidate in the race aged 70 or older. He’s 77. He would also be the third, and by far the wealthiest, billionaire to declare.
This past week, Bloomberg advisor Howard Wolfson tweeted:
This is an unusually bad idea.
Could Michael Bloomberg beat Donald Trump? Yes, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll cited by CNBC, if the election were held today. Bloomberg leads Trump 43% to 37% in a hypothetical matchup. That’s pretty weak, folks. For reference, Bill Clinton beat George H. W. Bush roughly 43 to 37 percent in 1992. Remember, however, that Ross Perot — another old white guy worth billions — siphoned off nearly 19% of the general election votes. If you’re polling only 43% in a hypothetical TWO PERSON RACE, what happens if a third party/independent candidate emerges?
Also, Bloomberg is currently polling in 6th place, supported by only 4% of Democratic primary voters who were polled. And Bloomberg is not planning to compete in the early primary/caucus states.
Does Michael Bloomberg honestly think he has a chance of getting the Democratic nomination? Or is that even the point?
One of the leading Democratic candidates as of this writing is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Warren, in addition to advocating strong financial regulation and anti-trust enforcement, is promoting the idea of a wealth tax. For fortunes over $1 billion, the tax would be 3%. Three percent of Michael Bloomberg’s personal fortune, which exceeds $50 billion dollars, would be at least $1.5 billion in taxes.
Michael Bloomberg may have spent more than a hundred million dollars to affect elections in 2018, as Mr. Wolfson claimed in his tweet. Frankly, I have a huge problem with that, even if Bloomberg was supposedly on my side. But setting aside the question of whether Bloomberg or anyone else should be able to throw that kind of weight around in a so-called democracy, a hundred million is CHUMP CHANGE compared to $1.5 BILLION.
The point of a Bloomberg candidacy might be to derail Elizabeth Warren, along with Bernie Sanders and anyone else who might make a grab for Michael’s money. It could end up having the opposite effect.
Whether Elizabeth Warren is really electable anyway is an open question. Based on my own highly unscientific observations as a politically-interested Iowa Democrat, I can say this: Warren’s policies are NOT popular with a lot of folks here. Warren’s proposal to forgive college debt and make college free, for example, gets a lot of pushback.
In perhaps the biggest irony of all, a Michael Bloomberg candidacy might not bring down Warren, Sanders or Biden, but actually make them seem more credible and/or reasonable in comparison.
Michael Bloomberg, do us all a favor: use your wealth and power for the greater good. That doesn’t mean an ego-driven or otherwise self-serving run for president. Remember what you said in March: “I am not running for president…”.