November 12, 2019

Bloomberg Considering Presidential Run

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“Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is strongly considering entering the race for the 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential nomination, a move that could greatly disrupt the field just three months before the first nominating contests.” Reuters

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From the Left

The left is skeptical of Bloomberg’s chances, arguing that he lacks both a clear message and a natural constituency.

“Something is getting in the way of the normal thought process that would begin at ‘these presidential candidates are threatening my massive wealth’ and usually end at ‘I should support a candidate who will stop this,’ instead diverting wildly off into ‘and it must be me; I am the Chosen One’... It’s easy to see how our current moment would appeal to a billionaire with too much time on his hands and an inflated sense of his own utility to the world…

“We have CNN throwing up a graphic comparing Bloomberg’s net worth ($52 billion) to Trump’s ($3.1 billion) and its reporters speculating that Trump ‘will extremely not like this graphic.’ Undoubtedly true, but rather missing the point that having two plutocrats fight about who is richer would be just about the most debased, grim way for the 2020 presidential contest to play out.”
Libby Watson, New Republic

“You could take Bloomberg’s unusual combination of issue positions, put some into one box and others into another, and end up with something you’d call ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist.’ The other way to look at it, however, is that whoever you are, you’re going to find something about him to dislike. As David Dayen wrote in 2016 when Bloomberg was considering a run, ‘An anti-teachers’-union, anti-gun, pro-nanny state, pro-Wall Street, pro-stop-and-frisk, pro-inequality, pro-immigration, pro-surveillance, pro-Iraq War neoconservative is almost surgically designed to repel practically every American voter on some level’…

“If Bloomberg does decide to run, I’d predict that questions of ideology are going to bedevil him. He has indicated that he’s contemplating a bid because he doesn’t think the field is strong enough to beat Trump, but he’ll have to articulate a rationale for his candidacy that goes deeper than that.”
Paul Waldman, Washington Post

“What could be better for [Elizabeth Warren], who has built her candidacy on the claim that plutocrats control America’s government, than to run against a billionaire 51 times over who keeps slamming her proposed wealth tax, which more than 80 percent of Democrats support… If Bloomberg stops anyone, it will most likely be the [moderate] candidate who actually is rising: Buttigieg

“Buttigieg is 37, which offers a useful contrast to the four septuagenarians (Warren, Sanders, Biden, Trump) he’s competing against. Bloomberg is 77. Buttigieg served in Afghanistan; Bloomberg didn’t serve in Vietnam. Buttigieg lives in the Midwest; Bloomberg lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (and, at least as of 2015, in Bermuda, London, Westchester, the Hamptons, Florida, and Vail, Colorado, as well). Buttigieg has never tried to ban Big Gulp sodas. And most important, a substantial number of Democrats are actually enthusiastic about Buttigieg’s candidacy.”
Peter Beinart, The Atlantic

“It’s clear from the donor class’s enthusiasm for Buttigieg, the endless parade of columns… urging voters to take a closer look at Amy Klobuchar or Steve Bullock, and now Bloomberg’s interest in joining the race that most people who look closely at the Biden campaign have serious doubts about it…

“But fundamentally he’s extremely well-known, the Obama administration remains very popular with rank-and-file Democrats, and his support from older working-class Democrats across racial lines is a plausible path to victory. Bloomberg stands no chance of poaching Biden’s black support, but with nearly infinite money to spend he certainly might peel off a fair amount of Biden’s support among white moderates. The question is what would this accomplish other than making a left-wing victory more likely?
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

“Real-life, non-million-dollar-donor Democrats are happy with the candidates they already have. In July, Pew Research Center found that 65 percent of Democrats had a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ impression of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination, 25 percent said their sense was that the field was fair, and only 5 percent had a ‘poor’ impression. By historical standards, those are excellent numbers…

“Wealthy Democrats who worry that Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders or Pete Buttigieg might lose aren’t crazy to look elsewhere… But Democrats already have better options than the former mayor: Cory Booker has the charisma. Amy Klobuchar has a proven record of winning in the Midwest. And Kamala D. Harris represents where the Democratic Party is heading. Bloomberg could do more for his party, and for his own legacy, by investing in one of them rather than treating himself to a vanity run for president.”
David Byler, Washington Post

Many note that “Biden’s opposition to [marijuana] legalization… puts him at odds with the great majority of Democrats, 75-plus percent of whom back legalization. Biden’s opposition even puts him at odds with the median Republican, with polls showing that even a majority of Republicans support legalization. Politically, then, legalization should be low-hanging fruit… Yet Biden is not quite there… It’s an especially bad look for Biden. He has a long record of pushing for punitive criminal justice and drug policies — not just supporting but actually writing many of the laws in the 1980s and ’90s that helped shape America’s modern war on drugs. For Biden to hang on to marijuana prohibition, then, just reinforces one of the major concerns that criminal justice reformers like Booker have about him.”
German Lopez, Vox

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right believes Bloomberg would make a strong presidential candidate, but is skeptical of his chances of winning the Democratic nomination, arguing that his background and policies are unlikely to resonate with the current Democratic party.

From the Right

The right believes Bloomberg would make a strong presidential candidate, but is skeptical of his chances of winning the Democratic nomination, arguing that his background and policies are unlikely to resonate with the current Democratic party.

“The Democrats now leading in the primary polls have major vulnerabilities. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want to blow up American capitalism and replace it with their top-down, socialist designs. Their agenda might scare suburban voters more than four more years of Mr. Trump does. Joe Biden often stumbles with his words on the stump and can’t escape the Ukraine imbroglio if impeachment goes to a Senate trial. He’s also low on money. Pete Buttigieg is a glib and clever 37-year-old, but his only political experience is as the mediocre mayor of a small and struggling city…

“No wonder Mr. Bloomberg thinks he might have a chance. As three-term mayor of New York, he has more executive experience than anyone of the field. As a successful entrepreneur, he understands the private economy better than any candidate other than John Delaney, also a former CEO. Those would both be significant campaign assets against Mr. Trump in a general election.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“The former veep is lackluster on his best days, and his money woes are a tell that he has peaked. [Bloomberg] also has to know that fellow New Yorker Trump is not going to let the public forget that Hunter Biden got rich when his father was vice president. Indeed, House Dems’ bid to impeach Trump over Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine could well finish off their own presidential front-runner because GOP members will repeatedly shift the ­focus to the Biden family’s suspect roles there…

“Despite his years as a Republican, Bloom­berg should have plenty of Democratic cred: He’s dumped hundreds of millions into the party’s coffers, most recently to help win unified control of swing-state Virginia. And he’s utterly in tune with most Democrats on climate change, abortion, gun control, immigration and other hot-button issues… a run is certainly worth a shot.”
Editorial Board, New York Post

Bloomberg’s “success as mayor [of New York] is his strongest credential for running, and it is a good one. New York is a large, messy city with an antiquated infrastructure, a large indigent population and, in the wake of the Great Recession, a worrisome dependence on the financial industries. It is no picnic to manage. Most New Yorkers laud the former mayor for continuing Rudy Giuliani’s success in keeping the Big Apple safe, and also for building up and diversifying the city’s economy. He attracted significant investments from other industries including, for instance, Big Tech. Overall, the city thrived under his leadership… Bloomberg’s problem is that by the ‘woke’ standards of today, his pragmatic no-nonsense approach to governing is at odds with the party he has chosen.”
Liz Peek, Fox News

“I’m simply not seeing where there’s a big appetite among the Democratic base for this guy to ride to the rescue. If the Democrats want a moderate they’ve already got Biden. (And believe it or not, Uncle Joe is actually younger than Bloomberg.) As for the socialist wing of the base that’s currently propping up Warren and Sanders, Bloomberg should be a hard pass. This will very likely turn out to be an expensive flop for the former Mayor of New York. But he’ll still probably do better than the current Mayor did.”
Jazz Shaw, Hot Air

Bloomberg is an effective manager. If he were your boss, you’d feel very comfortable about the future of your company and position, but you would also be vexed by the fact that the soda machine in your office only carried V8 and pomegranate juice… let’s be frank. All the gold in Fort Knox could not get Michael Bloomberg elected president. There is a simple reason for this, the man’s entire raison d’etre is an anti-fun agenda that slowly sucks the joy out of life and replaces it with cogs turning wheels in the factory of progress. Nobody wants that. Running the country through the deflavorizing machine, as Woody Allen once put it, is not a winning message.”
David Marcus, The Federalist

“If you were a serious progressive, wouldn't you be sort of appalled at how the Democratic Party is allowed to serve as a playground for rich white men who have nothing better to do with their time than light vast eight-figure sums of money on fire out of vanity? If, on the other hand, you were a moderate facing accusations that your policies only benefit the billionaire class, I somehow doubt you would appreciate having an actual billionaire right there defending all of the same policies. If I were Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, I would be feeling very good about Bloomberg 2020.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

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