Michael Bloomberg is revving up to run for president in 2020, making him both the oldest and richest person to seek the job.
Bloomberg considered running in 2016 as an Independent, but sources tell CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer that if he runs in 2020, he would run as a Democrat.
A source close to the former three-term mayor says the move is fueled in part by regret that he didn’t stay in the race in 2016, because he feels he could have either won outright or prevented Donald Trump from winning.
Admittedly, my track record of predicting whether independent-minded New York billionaires will or won’t run for president isn’t good. But c’mon.
1. Bloomberg would be 79 years old on Inauguration Day 2021. That would make him by far the oldest first-term president in U.S. history. It’s hard to imagine even seasoned pols like Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders who know the national campaign trail running again at their advanced age. Bloomy would be a rank amateur at age 78.
2. He’d have zero chance of winning. A younger man with $50 billion in the bank might be willing to spend $500 million on a lark to run for president. A guy approaching 80 won’t be.
3. If he ran as an independent, he might end up helping Trump more than hurting him by pulling votes from the center-left, particularly if Democrats leave space in the middle by nominating a far-leftist like Sanders. If Bloomberg’s goal is to diminish Republican power — and it seems to be — why would he do that? Why not just spend the money he would have spent on a campaign on an anti-Trump Super PAC in 2020 instead?
4. Running as a Democrat, which he allegedly intends to do, is worse in every respect. This is a guy, remember, who’s synonymous with Wall Street, who ruled New York as a Republican, and who championed policies like stop-and-frisk. What constituency would he have among Democrats? He’s too upper-crust to bring in working-class voters, too pro-business to please lefty populists, too unwoke to satisfy progressives. Basically, he’s everything left-wingers disliked about Hillary but more so. He’d run from the center too, attacking the leftist candidates in the primaries and possibly weakening the eventual nominee. If, somehow, he miraculously emerged with the nomination, he’d be at risk of progressives staying home or even rallying to a third-party candidate in the general election.
So why is this being leaked if Bloomberg’s not serious? Because, my friends, the only certainties in life are death, taxes, and rumors every four years of a Mike Bloomberg campaign. Remember this one from 2016? Probably this is just a strategic bit of hype to get Democrats to pay more attention to him ahead of the midterms. He announced last week that he’ll spend $80 million to help them try to take back the House. He wants some influence over the party’s direction and its next crop of leaders, gambling that they’re likely to be in charge of the House at a minimum for years to come starting next year. By dint of his fortune, other Democratic contenders in 2020 have to take him at least semi-seriously. If nothing else, today’s news will ensure that they return his calls. That’s all there is to it, I think. But then, I thought Trump’s rumblings about a campaign in 2015 were an “Apprentice” PR stunt.