Great news: Donald Trump hinting at presidential run

Obviously just a stunt aimed at piggybacking on the perpetual “Bloomberg for president” buzz, but since the primaries are already looking to be a Category 4 clusterfark, why not make ’em a Category 5?

In Monday interview with TIME’s Adam Sorensen, Trump lays out what sounds an awful lot like a 2012 platform:

“I have never had any interest [in running for office] before. If I ever did, this would be the time. That’s not to say I have interest, but if I ever did, this would be the time, because we’ve never had a country that’s sunk and thats gone to levels as low as it is right now.”…

“I think I’m qualified because I deal with countries that are taking us to lunch in a negative sense. I deal with Chinese. I know the Chinese. I understand the Chinese. They laugh at our stupidity. That laugh at how stupid our leaders are.”…

“Every week I wake up an the country is weaker and weaker and less and less effective and just less of a force. We’re working for China and that could be changed very rapidly.”

What is there to understand about China except that we owe them lots and lots and lots of money that we’ll never repay? Mark Halperin, citing a mysterious poll taken last month in New Hampshire that mentioned Trump, weighs in:

Trump created a flurry of speculation when he flirted with running for president in the past. The Republican nomination fight is so wide open — with no clear front-runner and a lot of potentially strong candidates on the fence about making the race – that a Trump trip or two to the Granite State (along with some token TV and radio spots) could juice his poll numbers and make him an immediate player in the world of cable/blog/talk radio speculation. Trump’s brashness, faux anti-establishment populism, willingness to take on Obama right here right now as a take-charge-CEO-type, and bright-shiny-object status with the media would allow him to draw a lot of attention. He wouldn’t have to declare he was running for sure, just say he was thinking about it.

He told Time that he’s a Republican, which presumably means a primary run rather than a third-party candidacy. If he runs as an independent, he can style himself as the new Perot — a colorful business-savvy billionaire who’s ready to show the career politicians how to get things done. If he runs as a Republican, he’s basically just … Mitt Romney with bad hair and a more exciting love life, no? He’d be the Al Sharpton of the GOP primary, zinging the stiffs ahead of him in the polls with plain-spoken “truths” while gaining traction with pretty much no one. I hope he jumps in. We’d have a ball blogging it until, inevitably, after he flames out in New Hampshire with three percent of the vote, he quietly withdrew.

Speaking of third-party runs, I commend to you this Nate Silver analysis of why 2012 could be a uniquely favorable year for a third-party candidate, especially if Palin’s the GOP nominee. She’s unpopular with centrists and, if unemployment stays high, Obama will be too, thus leaving a huge vacuum in the middle for some indie moderate to fill. That ain’t Trump, and it ain’t Halperin’s fever dream of a, er, Bloomberg/Petraeus ticket, but there’s potentially room to run for some enterprising gazillionaire who can pay his/her own way. Exit question: Note Silver’s reminder that if no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes in a three-way race, it falls to the House — which is likely to be controlled by the GOP — to select the new president. Does that mean we should welcome a third-party candidacy, especially if the Republican nominee looks weak? It’s the Coons/Castle/O’Donnell dynamic all over again, except this time the GOP (probably) gets to decide things if no one reaches 270. Fun!