As I write this, America’s political media is
on social media over this evening’s news. Unexpected drama in the Democratic presidential race! A late entry with all the money in the world to fund his campaign! A centrist threat to Warren as she takes fire for her unrealistic Medicare for All plan! A centrist threat to Biden as he struggles to compete in Iowa and New Hampshire!
Allow me to double down on this post I wrote in June about how Michael R. Bloomberg, a man with no apparent constituency in the Democratic Party, is not going to be the Democratic Party nominee. With two caveats. One: My prediction that Bloomy definitely won’t run turns out to have been, er, incorrect. Although, in my defense, he’s been teasing presidential runs every four years without following through for decades. It was a safe bet that this year’s rumblings would be another ruse.
Two: Although I continue to believe he has zero shot at the nomination, it may not be true that he’s a total nonfactor. Remember, Bloomberg held off on running initially because he was waiting to see what Joe Biden would do, believing that there wasn’t enough room in the center lane of the primary for the two of them. Once Biden got in, Bloomy stayed out, no doubt fearing that the two of them would divide the center and that that would benefit the anti-Wall-Street Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Now he appears to have concluded that Biden is too weak to win, leaving him little choice but to rush in to fill the centrist vacuum. Except … there isn’t really a centrist vacuum. Biden continues to lead in national polls and in South Carolina. He and Bloomberg are highly likely to split votes. And Warren and Sanders are highly likely to benefit.
At a moment when Wall Street is freaking out about the prospect of a Warren nomination, why would one of its most influential figures decide to enter the race and make life easier for her?
Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman, has been privately weighing a bid for the White House for weeks and has not yet made a final decision on whether to run, an adviser said. But in the first sign that he is seriously moving toward a campaign, Mr. Bloomberg has dispatched staffers to Alabama to gather signatures to qualify for the primary there. Though Alabama does not hold an early primary, it has a Friday deadline for candidates to formally enter the race…
Howard Wolfson, a close adviser to Mr. Bloomberg, said on Thursday that the former mayor viewed President Trump as an “unprecedented threat to our nation,” and noted Mr. Bloomberg’s heavy spending in the 2018 midterm elections and this week’s off-year races in Virginia. Mr. Bloomberg, he said, has grown uneasy about the existing trajectory of the Democratic primary.
“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated — but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” Mr. Wolfson said. “If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”
Trying to defeat Trump by siphoning off votes from the center-left frontrunner and enabling the nomination of an unelectable socialist instead is … definitely a strategy.
Real talk: This dude decided it’d be fun to run for president before he passes on (he’s even older than Biden), had a thousand money-hungry consultants assuring him he and he alone could win, and decided to Leeroy Jenkins the primary without a thought for how it’s going to help Trump, right?
But wait. Things are about to get even dumber:
It gets even more interesting. I hear from a good source that Eric Holder has been consulting strategists about possibly jumping into the Dem presidential race. NYT reports Michael Bloomberg is seriously considering a late entry as well.
— Eugene Robinson (@Eugene_Robinson) November 7, 2019
Holder’s another guy who’s teased a run off and on this year who I never believed would actually follow through. Unlike Bloomberg, you can at least understand why he sees an opening. The two African-American pols in the race, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, have gone nowhere. If anyone might have special appeal to black voters, potentially it’s the first black attorney general in U.S. history, a member of the first black president’s cabinet. Except … right now those black voters are with Biden, and are really the only thing propping him up by handing him a lead in South Carolina. It’s quite possible, even probable, that Biden will lose Iowa and New Hampshire and will desperately need a victory in South Carolina to stay alive. If Holder gets in and takes, say, 20 percent of the black vote, Biden could be finished. Assuming Bloomberg hasn’t finished him first.
I mean, this is like neoliberal Jonestown. Why are Bloomy and Holder racing in to hamstring the one traditional Democrat who might be able to prevent the party from being taken over by radicals?
Is there some eight-dimensional chess I’m missing? Erick Erickson wonders if maybe Bloomberg’s trying to help Biden by drawing heat away from him. Once he gets in, some of the progressive fire being trained on Grandpa Joe right now will be redirected at Bloomberg over his Wall Street friends and his police policies as mayor of New York. Is that it?
Is Bloomberg in cahoots with Trump somehow, maybe? He’s decided that Trump would be preferable to Biden as president, and therefore he’s going to try to take Biden out in the primary? I don’t get it.
Bigger picture, if Wall Street Dems are really so unhappy with Biden that they’d countenance a no-shot Bloomberg or Holder bid, why not dump a bunch of money on Booker or Klobuchar instead? They’re already up and running, they have people on the ground in the early states, they’ve raised their public profiles over the course of multiple debates. They’re both stronger candidates than Bloomberg or Holder too.
Anyway, might as well get Hillary into the pool too. If the Democratic establishment has decided that it’s time to terminate Joe Biden at this late stage of the game for whatever weird reason with all sorts of centrist late entrants, the more assassins there are, the quicker it’ll be over. Exit prediction: Bloomberg will decide not to run after all once literally everyone in the world informs him that he’s about to enable a full socialist takeover of his party.