Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is running for president. Yay?
Bloomberg’s dalliance with national political office is nothing new, after all, rumors of a presidential run have circulated since 2008. It seems Bloomberg enjoys using the same methods as President Donald Trump did in past years by pretending to hear a Mock Turtle ask him, “will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,” join the presidential dance.
The problem is the only people asking Bloomberg on bated breath about a presidential run are those either already on his payroll or looking to benefit from Bloomberg’s cash.
“Who fares a better chance at uniting the country than a man who has registered as a Democrat, Republican, and Independent?” Arick Wierson and Bradley Honan opine at CNN. Both were involved in Bloomberg’s administration while New York City mayor. “What candidate is better positioned to restore faith in the media than someone who founded a global news organization that is seen as politically neutral? Who else has both the serene disposition and the courage to take on big global issues with bold moves?”
The line about Bloomberg’s involvement in the Republican and Democrat parties is as laughable as it is nauseating. The 77-year-old (he’s older than Joe Biden by nine months!) switched parties in 2001 to run as a Republican for New York City mayor almost as a way to make sure he earned the endorsement of Rudy Giuliani not because he suddenly saw the light on smaller government and free markets. His switch to Independent appears quite political and more along the lines of either desire for an air of neutrality or pure unhappiness with the current political dichotomy than anything else.
His re-joining of the Democrat Party is also pure politics.
“It’s impossible to conceive that I could run as a Republican — things like choice, so many of the issues, I’m just way away from where the Republican Party is today,” Bloomberg told The New York Times in September while dismissing a third-party run. “That’s not to say I’m with the Democratic Party on everything, but I don’t see how you could possibly run as a Republican. So if you ran, yeah, you’d have to run as a Democrat.”
Political opportunism at its worst. Bloomberg sees the Democrat Party much as Trump did the Republican Party in 2016: full of a slew of competing forces looking to grasp the helm of a wayward ship with an opportunity against an unpopular opposition candidate. Whereas Trump’s rise in the Republican Party was due to his cult of personality and braggadocious attitude, Bloomberg’s supporters see him as a more calming influence.
“He may not be as flashy as Trump, or as buoyant as Elizabeth Warren, but America doesn’t need another showman — we need someone who can restore faith in our democracy and our place in the world,” Wierson and Honan write at CNN in an attempt to portray Bloomberg’s meandering way of speech as calmness. “They want someone at the helm who will keep the ship on course. They want to know everything will be OK.”
Bloomberg’s role in this 2020 race appears to be as an alleged centrist attempting to fuse what he believes is the best from both parties into some sort of coherent ticket for the White House. The problem is Bloomberg’s positions are neither centrist nor a fusion of any kind. His record is one of increasing the power of government whether it be through stop and frisk, raising taxes on everything from property to sugary drinks, and cracking down on public assemblies. Let’s not forget Eric Gardner would more than likely still be alive if the New York City law against “loosies” didn’t exist. Jonathan Greenberg derisively used the phrase “King Bloomberg the Ugly” when describing the former mayor’s foibles at Huffington Post in 2014. Greenberg is no small government lover, but his complaints about Bloomberg’s issues with the First Amendment should not be ignored.
Democratic candidates certainly appear to be treating Bloomberg’s entry into the race as more of a lark. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar welcomed him to the party on ABC’s This Week but shrugged at the idea he would make an impact because “maybe the argument is, ‘hey I’ve got more money than the guy in the White House…I don’t think (people are) going to buy that.” The rest have yet to comment on Bloomberg but it’s doubtful he’ll be seen as some sort of political savior. Unless he hopes his money will buy him votes and popularity which is currently sixth among all Democratic candidates.
If anything, Democrats already have a candidate who is attempting to fill the role of, “Everything will be okay,” in chief. That would be former Vice President Joe Biden whose front-runner status appears to be dwindling by the day as Democrats look for someone with a more populist bonafide. Bloomberg brings in money but nothing else. He’s another autocrat who sees government as the way to accomplish some sort of agenda instead of following the Constitution and rules set for the government.
There are enough authoritarians in the race. No more are either needed or necessary.