The Plot Thickens — Does Bloomberg Have a Chance?
Author: Greg Valliere
November 8, 2019
WE HAVE BEEN OUTSPOKEN in our admiration of Michael Bloomberg; he clearly has the intellect and temperament to be a very good president. But he faces an uphill battle — Democrats we spoke with last night believe at least a third of the party’s voters would resent his candidacy, and millions of them would potentially sit out the general election if he heads the ticket.
BUT THIS IS A BOMBSHELL, no question, even if Bloomberg ultimately decides not to run. That’s because he’s sending a message that even party insiders acknowledge: the current front-runners may not have what it takes to defeat Donald Trump. Bloomberg could beat Trump; it’s winning the nomination that would trip him up.
WE THINK BIDEN HAS RIGHTED THE SHIP: His stump speech has improved, he’s lost some rust, but Biden is short of money and hasn’t fully recovered from a perception that Hunter Biden enriched himself by playing off his father’s name. It’s not about blatant wrongdoing, it’s about perceptions of cronyism — would Hunter get millions from China and Ukraine if his last name was Anderson?
NEVERTHELESS, THE PARTY SEEMED TO BE MAKING PEACE in recent days with the likelihood that Biden would be the nominee (while keeping fingers crossed that he will perform well in Monday’s town hall and in debates later this month and in mid-December).
THE REASON WHY PARTY INSIDERS were beginning to coalesce around Biden is their fear that the likely alternative, Elizabeth Warren, is too polarizing and radical for the general election. Ironically, she could be the major beneficiary if Biden is weakened by the entry of another moderate.
BLOOMBERG UNDOUBTEDLY THINKS AS FOLLOWS: Biden has lost a step, Warren and Bernie Sanders are dangerous for the party, Pete Buttigieg is too young, Andrew Yang is a fad, Amy Klobuchar is too far behind, etc. In a field this weak, someone worth $52 billion could make quite a splash — even if the party’s base asks whether he’s a real Democrat.
BLOOMBERG HAS NO CHANCE of qualifying for the Nov. 20 debate, and probably will miss the one on Dec. 19. And he may essentially skip Iowa, focusing on later races, especially the big ones on March 3 and March 10.
THE GREAT UNKNOWN is whether Bloomberg can convince the rank-and-file that a 77-year-old multi-billionaire with close ties to Wall Street can sweep in and take the nomination away from candidates and volunteers who are resentful this morning. They won’t like much of his message, other than his strong advocacy of gun control.
BLOOMBERG CAN BE A SCOLD, and he undoubtedly will rip into the enormously expensive agenda the party embraces: spending much more money on health care, student debt forgiveness, the Green New Deal, etc. We can’t afford it, Bloomberg will warn. And he undoubtedly will argue against big tax increases on Wall Street.
BOTTOM LINE: We give Bloomberg only a 25% chance of winning the nomination; we think the party will collectively say no thanks, and we’re not even sure that he ultimately will decide to run. All bets will be off, however, if Biden stumbles badly in upcoming debates; if that happens, Lord only knows who else might enter this race at the last minute.
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