Voters can rest assured that the self-assured Bloomberg and the aides speaking to reporters believe that there are certain conditions or variables in the 2016 race that would carve a path for a Bloomberg win. Those conditions are, of course, a race between what Bloomberg's aides have described as the extremists. That is a race between Republicans Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont running for the White House as a Democrat.
Bloomberg's team has reportedly done its research. You see, in an extremists race, Bloomberg a third-party candidate could do what no other American — including much-beloved former president Teddy Roosevelt — could not. He could run and win. Bloomberg would do it, Bloomberg and his advisers seemed to say in multiple stories over the weekend, in service to the country. America needs Bloomberg. Leading New York and a mega information business empire are apparently all the qualifications that Bloomberg needs. Ultra rich and soon-to-be-ultra rich people, as well as select employees, agree.
Now, to put this bluntly, it's not exactly surprising that a billionaire businessman with a strong and demonstrated belief in the power of applying commercial principles and efficiency to government would have the confidence to try a third-party run at the White House. Nor is it even remotely surprising that said billionaire would have people around him willing to agree that it can be done. Those are relatively common #BillionaireProblems, to be sure.
But one wonders whether Bloomberg and his advisers have paid any real attention at all to the current political terrain.
Outside of Camp Bloomberg, Sanders, Trump, Bush and Rubio all told various Sunday shows that they are not in the least bit scared. Clinton said confidently -- perhaps even sarcastically -- that she would secure the Democratic nomination and "relive" Bloomberg of any "need" to run. Trump essentially begged Bloomberg to run, apparently believing it would increase his chances of winning.
"I would love to have Michael Bloomberg run," Trump told NBC's "Meet the Press." "I would love that competition. I think I'd do very well against it. I would love to see Michael Bloomberg run.
And while most of the names just mentioned have shown themselves prone fits of overconfidence, bravado and/or embarrassing displays of machismo, this time they really may collectively be right.
Outside the cities and suburbs between New York and Washington, D.C., Bloomberg falls into the category of vaguely known public figures. Bloomberg hasn't spent hours on buses and in cars, criss-crossing the frozen terrain of Iowa and New Hampshire. He has no publicly acknowledged campaign staff or network of volunteers knocking on doors or doing whatever necessary to rally voters to his side. But his team seems essentially to be saying that does not matter.
He has neither the uplifting bootstraps backstory that makes for a good movie of the week like Ben Carson nor a reality TV show and a ceaseless font of off-brand charm that helps Trump. But Team Bloomberg does not seem to make much of this difference between himself and other outsider candidates.
Of course, goodness knows Bloomberg has the money to advertise widely and craft a well-known public image that may support his political goals. Aides told the New York Times that he is willing to spend up to $1 billion of his personal fortune on a campaign for the White House.
And perhaps if public relations were his only challenge, this Bloomberg presidential balloon would have to be taken more seriously.
That's a combination that seems like a bit of a hard sell to all those people showing up to Trump rallies in "Make America Great Again" trucker hats and riled up by the prospect of forcibly deporting 11 million people. It's even harder to imagine the NRA deciding that it has something more important to do than to try to defeat Bloomberg.
There's plenty to hate if you're a conservative-minded voter who might consider a third-party candidate.
But there's also plenty to hate if you're more on the liberal side of things.
Bloomberg has also long favored of charter schools and efforts to privatize and contract out all manner of city services. Bloomberg supported measures that required welfare recipients in New York to undergo fingerprinting and drug testing. And during the Bloomberg years in New York, he was also a vocal advocate of Stop and Frisk, the aggressive program of stopping and as the name suggests searching and frisking pedestrians in New York. In 2013, a court ruled the program as it then existed was unconstitutional. And then, after a round of appeals, it forced reforms.
While Stop and Frisk was a large, active and unmodified program in New York, crime fell in the city and everywhere else around the country. But Bloomberg and other advocates credited Stop and Frisk with everything from New York's major slide in crime to the economic development and activity that's transformed Bushwick (a Brooklyn neighborhood once known for high crime) into an address young, white, gentrifying hipsters desire.
But Stop and Frisk also produced such lopsided statistics that they made the program increasingly difficult to legally justify and crime reduction claims shaky, at best. For example, in 2011, when the program lead to the largest number of stops in its history (605,328) half of those detained and frisked were black, 34 percent were Latino and just 9 percent were white, according to police data analyzed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The overwhelming majority did not have weapons or anything else on their person or in their record that allowed officers to make an arrest.
In other words, despite the most frequent officer claims used to justify the stops -- "suspicious bulges" in clothing and "furtive" movements -- the vast majority of those stopped were doing nothing wrong and had no outstanding warrants. They were, it seems, largely stopped because of who they were or what they looked like.
Some or all of that on the Bloomberg resume might also give would-be Sanders supporters some pause.
Finally, as the man that Wall Street seemed to want to run, Bloomberg won't be able to make many credible claims of populism or a soul-level connection to the everyman. In fact, Bloomberg is a former mayor on the record vehemently opposing tax increases on the richest of rich New Yorkers, bills to mandate large employers to provide employees with sick leave or to boost the minimum wage Bloomberg might also run into some problems in a country where more and more voters across the political spectrum agree with those ideas.
What we are saying here is that Bloomberg and his advisers seem to put a lot of faith -- perhaps excessive confidence -- in the power of Bloomberg's personal resources, the philosophical allure of a third-party candidacy and the notion that many voters will not vote for Trump, Cruz or Sanders.
But that sounds like the sort of idea that only comes up only when other billionaires and other people in their employ are in the room.