Michael Bloomberg's statement announcing that he won't run for president in 2016 is sort of a modified version of the famous oath sworn by William T. Sherman. "I decided against drafting myself, so I will not run," Bloomberg suggests. "If nominated, I would probably accept; if elected, I would happily serve."
Bloomberg wants to run for president. He wants to run for president so badly. He wants to run for president so badly that he did some analysis reported by the New York Times that suggests that Bloomberg would win at least 201 electoral votes against Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, including extremely optimistic wins in Georgia, Tennessee and Indiana (which went for Mitt Romney by 8, 20 and 11 points in 2012, respectively.)
But he won't run, he writes, because "my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience." He figures that he'd win enough states to prevent anyone from getting a majority — tossing the election to the Republican-led House. "Extremism is on the march," he writes, identifying the marchers by name and excoriating them for the anti-immigrant tunes they're playing.
It's clear that even if he didn't win any states at all, he'd still be risking the Democrats' chances. A poll from Fox News last month asked voters about a Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump match-up as well as a Clinton-Trump-Bloomberg one.
Clinton beat Trump by 5 in the first scenario and 2 points in the latter — but independents flipped to Bloomberg.
Interestingly, Bloomberg made his decision on the day a new poll came out in what would have been the home or adopted home state of each of the four most likely general election candidates. Bloomberg wouldn't win New York state, according to the Siena College poll — but he'd at least relegate Trump to a bronze medal on his home turf.
It's worth wondering how Bloomberg thinks he could beat a Sanders or a Clinton. He'd beat Clinton in Illinois, his map suggests? That it would be tied in Vermont? He gets 6 percent of the black vote in New York, probably thanks in large part to his policing efforts in the city. But he's going to win throughout the South? We'll never know.
This thing isn't over, of course. The fever dream of the technomoderatocracy is a Bloomberg run or a brokered convention or (or dare we dream?) a Bloomberg nomination resulting from a brokered convention! This is the sugar plum vision that will be bopping through somnolent heads tonight all along the Acela corridor.