According to a recent report for the Times of London, Michael Bloomberg is planning to run for president in 2020 as a Democrat. I find his candidacy to be unlikely and his victory even more so, for a number of reasons. First, why he won’t win the Democratic nomination if he does run:
- He’ll be running as a centrist(or be pigeonholed as one even if he tries to avoid the word) at a time when the Democratic party is in a radical mood.
- Like Bernie Sanders, he’ll be perceived as a white male, but unlike Sanders he wouldn’t be able to fall back on being more Leftist than thou.*
- He’ll already have written off the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, but his appeal to centrist Democrats will run into the problem that many are “centrist” on some issues but “Leftist” on others. The blue-collar Democrats who vote for the Democrats for economic reasons but are hostile or indifferent to their social views will be turned off by the fact that he’s a formerly Republican billionaire. At the other end of the spectrum, economically moderate Leftists who take “white privilege” seriously will be turned off by his prior support for stop-and-frisk and ties to Rudy Giuliani. He will only appeal to those who are both economically and socially centrist.
- The unions will hate him for his support for education reform.
- He’ll have no special appeal to Blacks, being rich, white, and centrist. He will be compared to Hillary Clinton, who won overwhelmingly among Blacks, despite being white, wealthy, a “centrist,” and attacked by the far-Left for her previously expressed un-PC views.(“Superpredators,” ect) But there are some important differences here. She was a lifelong creature of two institutions Blacks tend to view positively, government service and the Democratic Party. Bloomberg, in contrast, is a businessman who has continually changed his party affiliation. His centrism will bother them much moreso than hers.
- While they would be happy to take his money, Democratic elites in the party and the media will balk at letting a man who as recently as 2016 donated to both Democratic and Republican candidates have the nomination. Thus, every factor outlined above will weigh against him even more. His wealth, his centrism, his previous ties to Trump, will be continually highlighted by the media, in great contrast to their treatment of Clinton.
Thus, I give him a 5% chance of winning the Democratic nomination, assuming he runs.
Why don’t I think he’ll run? The logic above has likely occurred to him. Maybe he sees it differently than I do, and thinks these obstacles can be overcome. If this is the case, he should be trying to do so now. But he isn’t. “I’ve never thought that the public is well-served when one party is entirely out of power, and I think the past year and half has been evidence of that,” is not something he’d say if he were thinking seriously about convincing Democrats he’s one of them. So the probability he will actually run for President as a Democrat? I give it a 10%.
* I loved watching the Sanders people squirm whenever he was referred to as a “white male.” They couldn’t let the mask slip, but very much wanted to.