Mike Bloomberg: Okay, fine, I'm not running for president

I’d like to tell you that this is the last time we’ll have to suffer through a will-he-or-won’t-he cycle with Bloomy, as he’ll be 82 in 2024.

But no, there’ll probably be a few “Is this the year?” news cycles for him then as well. So long as there’s breath in a squishy technocrat worth $50 billion, the media dream of a successful liberal-centrist independent run for president will live as well.

If you believe the media, he really, truly was taking this idea seriously. How seriously?

Even a man worth $50 billion can have dreams that seem outlandishly silly to us plebeians.

Question: Did Bloomberg get a heads-up from Joe Biden that Biden’s about to take the plunge? “Bloomberg’s aides have continued asking around for intel on what Biden will do, believing there’s likely only room in the race for one of them,” The Atlantic reported in late January. “Polling and focus groups found that Mr. Bloomberg had a path to the Democratic nomination, his advisers said, but that he would likely struggle to compete if Mr. Biden were to run,” the NYT noted today. The Biden rumblings have grown louder lately. Now here’s Bloomberg, bowing out. Hmmm.

From his statement:

It’s essential that we nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country back together. We cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election and translate into “Four More Years.”

I know what it takes to run a winning campaign, and every day when I read the news, I grow more frustrated by the incompetence in the Oval Office. I know we can do better as a country. And I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field

So as I’ve thought about a possible presidential campaign, the choice before me has become clear. Should I devote the next two years to talking about my ideas and record, knowing that I might never win the Democratic nomination? Or should I spend the next two years doubling down on the work that I am already leading and funding, and that I know can produce real and beneficial results for the country, right now?

He reluctantly concluded that Democrats, seemingly more open to a hardline leftist nominee than it’s been in ages, were unlikely to warm to a billionaire former-Republican financier known for stop-and-frisk policing. Probably so!

His new project is called Beyond Carbon, a climate-change initiative with the Sierra Club. “The idea of a Green New Deal — first suggested by the columnist Tom Friedman more than a decade ago — stands no chance of passage in the Senate over the next two years,” he notes in his statement, signaling that he views his proposal as an alternative to AOC’s. Between that and the bit above about the primaries dragging the party towards the fringe, it sounds like Bloomberg’s as interested in defeating Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk as he is in defeating Trump. Which makes me wonder: Is he going to spend in the primaries to promote Biden or whichever other candidate emerges in the centrist “lane”? (Klobuchar, maybe? Are there any centrists besides Biden?)

And if Democratic voters opt for Bernie anyway, will Bloomberg still deliver on his promise of big bucks to try to defeat Trump? One of his advisors told Politico last month that he’s prepared to spend “at least” $500 million to beat POTUS; Trump’s entire 2016 campaign spent only $398 million. But if it’s Sanders versus Trump, with one wanting to burn Wall Street down and the other counting a tax cut as the major accomplishment of his first term, Bloomberg’s pro-business beliefs should point to neutrality at a minimum.

I think he’s going to play in the primary, with progressives his primary target next year and Trump a secondary target if and only if a centrist like Biden wins. In due time Bloomy will be even more hated by the left than Howard Schultz is, and they hate Schultz a lot. In lieu of an exit question, here’s a panel of Democratic voters sounding chilly to the idea of Joementum.