Bloomberg Considering Run for President
Bloomberg has considered running for the White House in the past on a third-party ticket, but had determined it would be impossible to win. This year may be different, and he has indicated that he would be willing to spend at least $1 billion of his personal fortune to capture the presidency, a sum that could have a huge impact in the outreach to potential voters. He has determined that he must decide by early March in order to qualify as an independent candidate on the ballots of all 50 states.
His aides have sketched out a version of a campaign plan that would have the former mayor, a low-key and cerebral personality, give a series of detailed policy speeches backed by an intense television advertising campaign. The ads would introduce him to voters around the country as a technocratic problem-solver and self-made businessman who understands the economy and who built a bipartisan administration in New York.
Mr. Bloomberg would face daunting and perhaps insurmountable obstacles in a presidential campaign: No independent candidate has ever been elected to the White House, and Mr. Bloomberg’s close Wall Street ties and liberal social views, including his strong support for abortion rights and gun control, could repel voters on the left and right.
“Mike Bloomberg for president rests on the not-impossible but somewhat unlikely circumstance of either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz versus Bernie Sanders,” said Mr. Ed Rendell, a close ally of Mrs. Clinton’s who is also a friend of Mr. Bloomberg’s. “If Hillary wins the nomination, Hillary is mainstream enough that Mike would have no chance, and Mike’s not going to go on a suicide mission.”
In the presence of Mr. Altman, a longtime supporter of Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, Mr. Bloomberg described her as a flawed politician, shadowed by questions about her honesty and the continuing investigation into her email practices as secretary of state, according to two people in attendance.
The outcome of that investigation, Mr. Bloomberg said, was anyone’s guess.
Even a victory by Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primaries might not preclude a bid by Mr. Bloomberg, his associates said, if he believed she had been gravely weakened by the contest.
“This isn’t about Hillary Clinton,” the adviser said in an email. “The fact is Hillary Clinton is behind in Iowa and New Hampshire. That should scare a lot of people — and it does.” (Public polls have shown Mr. Sanders leading in New Hampshire, a close race in Iowa and Mrs. Clinton with a solid lead nationally.)
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign declined to comment on Mr. Bloomberg’s interest in the race. But on a campaign conference call with supporters on Saturday, Jennifer Palmieri, a top Clinton aide, told allies that she believed Mr. Bloomberg would only run if Mr. Sanders won the nomination, and that the Clinton camp intended to foreclose that possibility.
While Mr. Bloomberg supports many of the Democratic Party’s social policies, he has been a fierce defender of the financial services industry, which is unpopular with many liberals, and enacted aggressive policing policies in New York City that are anathema to left-leaning voters.
And when he first ran for mayor in 2001, he did so as a Republican. But he has also poured energy and money into advocating policies that conservative Republicans detest, most notably gun control and immigration reform.
Mr. Bloomberg has seen Mr. Trump’s campaign rhetoric on immigration as especially distasteful. But in an interview in Iowa on Saturday, Mr. Trump said he “would love the competition” of having Mr. Bloomberg in the race, and alluded to their different business backgrounds and divergent policy views. “He’s the opposite of me in many ways,” Mr. Trump said. “Opposite on guns, opposite on numerous issues.”
Some Republicans are less certain of the effect Mr. Bloomberg would have on the race. In swing states like Ohio and Virginia, suburban moderates who recoil from certain liberal policies might be more likely to support Mr. Bloomberg than a candidate like Mr. Trump or Mr. Cruz.
Representative Daniel M. Donovan Jr., a New York Republican who is a friend and golfing partner of Mr. Bloomberg’s, said that many voters “who aren’t totally satisfied with any of the people who are running right now, would welcome a Mike Bloomberg candidacy.”
“He governed more in pragmatic ways than in ideals,” Mr. Donovan said, adding, “That may be different from some of the folks, like Senator Cruz, who are apparently doing well among primary voters.”
So in the final analysis, Bloomberg is willing to support Hillary Clinton if he senses that she can win. She is left enough on social issues, cynical enough to keep Wall Street happy, and corrupt enough that Bloomberg feels confident that he can count on her to manage the country in a way that would meet his needs.
What scares corrupt politicians like Clinton, jaded businessmen like Bloomberg, and the Establishment Republicans are the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who want to shake up the Washington good old boy network and actually run the country for the benefit of the people.
What an amazing concept that has the traditional pols of both parties in absolute fits, which is a pleasure to watch.
May Michael Bloomberg lose a huge pile of money trying to force the same nonsense that has been going on for years.