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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Just when you thought that the field of Democratic presidential candidates was shrinking down to a more-manageable size, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg reportedly is ready to jump into the mix.
Nevermind the fact that he first entered City Hall nearly two decades ago as a Republican before eventually becoming an independent.
Bloomberg ostensibly wants to run because he’s decided that the existing Democratic field (read: Joe Biden) isn’t up to defeating Donald Trump after all.
However, with an estimated personal worth north of $50 billion–making him the 9th richest person on the planet–Bloomberg is said not to be pleased with the sort of wealth taxes advocated by the more progressive of the presidential hopefuls, such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Other than the high confidence that he places in himself to beat his old crosstown rival, whom Bloomberg has always sort of looked down on as a kind of pretender, it’s not clear exactly what unique abilities Bloomberg will bring to the race.
Even as mayor of New York and the easy way he has been able to shift political affiliation and back again, it’s not clear Bloomberg holds much in terms of a political philosophy outside of the fight for gun control which he has publicly supported the last several years.
He’s always been much more of a technocrat. I don’t mean this an insult as much as honest assessment, and that’s that Bloomberg has all of the charisma of canned soup.
That may play in a limited electorate like that in the Big Apple, but it’s not clear what appeal a technocrat would hold out on the hustings, even against Trump.
Then there’s Bloomberg’s age at 77, doesn’t offer much of a differentiator from the ages of either Biden or Sanders.
I have no doubt that Bloomberg’s heart is in the right place. But we already have one do-gooding billionaire in the Democratic primary (see Steyer, Tom). And despite all of the resources Steyer could bring to bear, he hasn’t tapped into front-runner status.
What’s going to be different for Bloomberg?
I suppose we should be thankful that, like Steyer, Bloomberg has the smarts and the humility to run in the Democratic primary and not as a third-party independent, realizing that doing that would only give Trump an easier path to a second term.
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