The semi-official entry of Michael Bloomberg into the Democrats’ 2020 primary brawl is producing an array of reactions from political analysts, ranging from the euphoric to the near suicidally depressed. Two of them that encapsulate this wide divide cropped up this weekend and they seem to set the tone for this debate. At one end of the spectrum, you have Michael Goodwin at the New York Post. He sees Bloomberg’s bid as “the great centrist hope for Democrats.”
Goodwin bases this scenario on two assumptions. One is that Joe Biden doesn’t have enough in the tank to finish the primary race. He draws this conclusion from Uncle Joe’s less than inspiring (and frequently error-prone) speeches, his decline in some recent polls and his tepid fundraising. The second is that a splintering of Biden’s support could open the door for either Warren or Sanders to take the nomination, and neither could defeat President Trump in the swing states. So Bloomberg’s announcement has left him “delighted.”
Count me as delighted. While there’s a big mountain to climb for him to win the nomination, it is actually easy to see how he could help save the party from following Sanders or Warren into the political wilderness. That alone would be a major achievement and a service to the nation.
America succeeds when the two parties must compete for centrist voters, a fact that tends to moderate radical impulses on both sides. Trouble is, the nation is polarized, and Dems are in the process of banishing moderates, with Warren especially vicious in demonizing those who don’t agree with her pitch to break the bank on Medicare for All and other harebrained schemes.