If Hillary recovers her footing, Bloomberg won’t run
With Hillary’s cratering poll numbers, the far left “feeling the Bern,” and the right tearing itself apart over Trump and the other candidates, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg reportedly sees an opening and is seriously considering an independent run for president.
Michael R. Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.
Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has in the past contemplated running for the White House on a third-party ticket, but always concluded he could not win. A confluence of unlikely events in the 2016 election, however, has given new impetus to his presidential aspirations.
Bloomberg is not only willing (and able) to spend $1 billion in his own money on his campaign, but he’s also set a deadline for his decision for early March.
The NYT continues:
Mr. Bloomberg, 73, has already taken concrete steps toward a possible campaign, and has indicated to friends and allies that he would be willing to spend at least $1 billion of his fortune on it, according to people briefed on his deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his plans. He has set a deadline for making a final decision in early March, the latest point at which advisers believe Mr. Bloomberg could enter the race and still qualify to appear as an independent candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.
He has retained a consultant to help him explore getting his name on those ballots, and his aides have done a detailed study of past third-party bids. Mr. Bloomberg commissioned a poll in December to see how he might fare against Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, and he intends to conduct another round of polling after the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9 to gauge whether there is indeed an opening for him, according to two people familiar with his intentions
Apparently, Bloomberg’s plan is to present himself as the only grown-up in the room (if that sounds familiar, it should, that is the same plan Jeb tried . . . unsuccessfully).
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 that 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.
Bloomberg will not, however, pursue this pipe dream if Hillary recovers her footing and looks more likely than she does now to win the Democrat nomination.
“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. 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.”
The NYT continues:
If Republicans were to nominate Mr. Trump or Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a hard-line conservative, and Democrats chose Mr. Sanders, Mr. Bloomberg — who changed his party affiliation to independent in 2007 — has told allies he would be likely to run.
Edward G. Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and a past Democratic National Committee chairman, said he believed Mr. Bloomberg could compete in the race if activist candidates on the left and right prevailed in the party primaries.
Rendell noted that he would consider backing Bloomberg over Sanders should Hillary be too damaged to recover.
In a three-way race featuring Mr. Sanders and Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Rendell said he might back the former New York mayor.
“As a lifelong Democrat, as a former party chairman, it would be very hard for me to do that,” he said. “But I would certainly take a look at it — absolutely.”
He’s not the only one.
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.”
I’m not sure how that will play out given his horrendous tenure as the “nanny” mayor and his well-known—and much despised—war on the Second Amendment, but I suspect this move would hurt Bernie far more than it would hurt Trump or Cruz (or whomever) in the general election.