A Bloomberg Presidential Bid Would Be Awful and Instructive
Ed Luce indulges the Michael Bloomberg presidential bid speculation:
According to those around him, the prospect is not academic. “People here are talking about nothing else,” says a friend who works at Bloomberg’s news operation. The three-times mayor of New York has commissioned polls to look at how he would fare in a three-way race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Should Bernie Sanders be the Democratic nominee, Mr Bloomberg’s temptation would grow. Who then would speak for voters who believe in free trade, internationalism and global alliances? [bold mine-DL] Not Mr Trump, for sure. Or Mr Sanders. Enter Mayor Bloomberg.
I can’t believe Bloomberg would go through with this, but this has been a very strange election cycle so far. Suppose that Bloomberg’s “worst-case” scenario unfolded and Trump and Sanders were the major party nominees, and he declares his candidacy to protest these results. It would be extremely easy for the two nominees to pillory Bloomberg as the candidate of draconian gun regulation, heavy-handed paternalism, foreign wars, meddling overseas, and unbridled corporatism. It would be a disaster for the Democrats, since a Bloomberg candidacy would almost certainly cause enough Clinton supporters to jump ship and throw the election to Trump. However, it would be useful to show just how little popular support there is for the agenda of elite so-called “centrism.”
Luce describes Bloomberg’s agenda as positively as possible, but if he were to run he would be a worst-of-both-parties candidate that borrows many of the most harmful and least popular policies from both sides. Bloomberg advisers imagine his campaign promoting “a nonideological, bipartisan, results-oriented vision,” but it would emphasize many of the policies that many Americans dislike most about the major parties right now. Most voters would listen to Bloomberg describe his “vision” and they would hear him arguing for indulging corporate interests, fighting unnecessary wars, and giving more power to an already intrusive and overreaching government. The strong likelihood that he wouldn’t enter the race if Clinton won the nomination speaks volumes about the overlap between their respective agendas.