However, as news comes that Bloomberg, after four debates and 11 months of presidential campaigning, wants to at least reserve a spot for himself, the remaining candidates have every right to roll their eyes and mutter, “The nerve of that guy.”
The Post reports: “Bloomberg, who as one of the world’s richest men would bring significant financial resources to his own campaign, plans to file paperwork this week and has dispatched staff to Alabama to ensure he can get onto the ballot in a state that has a Friday filing deadline.” This does not mean he will surely run, only that he might if . . . if what? Why exactly might the party and country need him?
There is a competitive primary underway, with multiple Democrats who in head-to-head match-ups with President Trump beat him handily. Democrats have multiple advocates for tough gun safety laws and ambitious versions of the Green New Deal, two of Bloomberg’s top issues. Democrats can choose from four septuagenarians. (Bloomberg, 77, is younger than Sen. Bernie Sanders but older than former vice president Joe Biden.) Democrats can select from three current or past mayors (Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker). Democrats do not lack for a billionaire (Tom Steyer) nor several millionaires.
What viewpoint or skill set is missing from the field that Bloomberg possesses — other than the ability to annoy fellow New Yorker Trump, who is worth a pittance (even by his own exaggerated estimate) compared to Bloomberg, who is reportedly worth $52 billion? That is no small matter, but certainly there are many candidates capable of heckling Trump. Bloomberg could pay for ads (for all the candidates!) documenting Trump’s financial, ethical and policy failings. He does not need to run in order to pester the failing president.
The overwhelming percentage of Democratic primary voters say they are happy with the field. Where is the throng of voters insisting on more choices?
The conventional wisdom is that Bloomberg’s entry amounts to a snub of Biden. Why it is not a snub of Elizabeth Warren or Buttigieg or others is not clear. In reality, Bloomberg’s belated entry is a snub of the primary selection process (whether deserved or not). He seems to believe he can buy name ID that others have gained over months of hard work.
I suspect Bloomberg will not get far, if he actually takes the plunge. Early state voters really do like the candidates to show up again and again. Dropping in at the last minute probably does not get him many admirers in New Hampshire or Iowa.
Maybe he is playing the game another New York City mayor did, waiting for a state much later in the race to break through. That was the loopy theory of one Rudolph Giuliani, who thought it was smart to wait for Florida to make his big move. He never won a state.
Biden and the rest should not feel slighted. I suspect most of them will be happy to jab at another billionaire candidate and tout their own humble beginnings (Scranton! Oklahoma!). They might even seem more appealing by comparison, if only because they are working hard to earn voters’ support.
In any event, the Democratic contenders should keep their eyes on the other New York billionaire, the one scuttling the Constitution, paying a $2 million fine for running a scam foundation (“The president admitted, among other things, to improperly arranging for the charity to pay $10,000 for a 6-foot portrait of him”) and facing impeachment for soliciting a bribe from Ukraine.