WARNING: Parts of this column may bear strong resemblance to my earlier columns when Michael Bloomberg toyed with running for president, because with Bloomberg, history has a way of repeating itself.

Every four years, Michael Bloomberg hears something virtually no other American hears: a groundswell of support for a Michael Bloomberg presidential candidacy. Now, as the 2020 Democratic primaries rapidly approach, he’s hearing it again.

Bloomberg, a fairly successful mayor of New York and a fabulously successful businessman, has an estimated net worth of $52 billion. Without that fortune, nobody would be talking about a Bloomberg candidacy at this late date. But with his money, Bloomberg could self-finance a run from start to finish without ever having to ask a single donor for a penny. That gives him freedom to float a would-be candidacy long after the field has been set.

This time, Bloomberg, who in his political life has been a Democrat, a Republican, an independent and now a Democrat again, is setting a personal record by flirting twice in a single cycle.

Last spring, there was a ripple of speculation about a 2020 Bloomberg candidacy. On March 5, Bloomberg put an end to it when he announced flatly, “I’m not running for president.” Instead, he said, he would pour his energy and resources into a new climate change project called Beyond Carbon.

Now, however, he has apparently moved beyond Beyond Carbon. Last week, The New York Times reported that Bloomberg is “actively preparing to enter the Democratic presidential primary.”

”Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to [defeat Trump],” Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson told the paper. “If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”

Bloomberg is said to be concerned — and it is a legitimate concern — that the current Democratic field has moved too far left, embracing policies like Medicare for All, virtually open borders, free college and wealth taxes. That’s what Wolfson meant when he said the field is “not well positioned” to beat Trump.

But there is no indication that voters believe Bloomberg is the solution to the problem. This latest tease is too recent for any reliable polling — although one survey found Bloomberg with the highest negatives in the field — but in the past, he has never been a voter favorite outside the confines of New York City.

Bloomberg is being pressed into action by states with early primary filing deadlines. He has already placed his name on the ballot for the Alabama primary, and a short time later flew to Arkansas to file there.

Alabama and Arkansas are fine, but what about Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — the first states to cast votes and award delegates? Bloomberg has apparently decided to blow them off.

”In a dramatic acknowledgment of his own late start in the race,” the Times reported, “Mr. Bloomberg and his advisers have decided that he would pursue a risky strategy of skipping all four traditional early state contests ... and focus instead on big states that hold primaries soon afterward.”

Instead of “risky strategy,” one might substitute “crazy strategy.” Candidates in the past have sometimes tried to skip an early primary or caucus, but skipping all four at the beginning is a sure way to lose. Bloomberg predecessor Rudy Giuliani essentially tried it in the Republican contest in 2008, and by the time the first four primaries were over, voters barely remembered Giuliani was in the race.

The same will likely happen to Bloomberg, if he goes through with it. Recall the excitement and 24/7 media attention that precedes the Iowa caucuses, and then the shift to New Hampshire, and so on. Bloomberg won’t be a part of that. He can buy all the ads he wants telling people to just wait until he gets in, but there will be Democratic winners chosen by the voters of the first four state contests who cannot be ignored.

Also, if Bloomberg jumps in, voters will eventually recognize that he, like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, is too old to be president. Bloomberg will be nearly 79 on Inauguration Day 2021. Like Biden, who will be 78, and Sanders, who will be 79, Bloomberg will have to convince voters that a president in his 80s — never before seen in American history — is nothing to worry about.

Bloomberg’s move is a symptom of Democratic anxiety. We’ve seen it before, in both parties. At the beginning of a primary season, with a big field of candidates starting the race, the party faithful say, “Isn’t this great? We have so many good candidates — almost an embarrassment of riches!” Then, after several months of campaigning, they say, “Can’t somebody enter this race and save us?”

The answer is no. The Democratic field is what it is. One of the candidates in the race right now will win the nomination, go on to face President Trump, and have a chance to become the next president. There’s no savior waiting to rescue Democrats — and that includes Michael Bloomberg.

— Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

(9) comments


Yep, no savior waiting to save the Democrats, that is what this "impeachment inquiry" is all about!


Donald Trump is a Liar. Donald Trump is a Crook. Donald Trump should be locked up, with the door welded shut! Republicans have dumped Jesus Christ. Republicans have anointed Trump as their Savior, Republicans have Crapped on Christ.


Yep, totally brain dead answer again. Bloomberg is running out of fear that wall street will be "penalized" if another nominee wins the election not because there are no viable candidates. SnowGypsy logic (my favorite segment of the day) loves veterans but supports a president who makes fun of United States veterans who were caught and POW's.


Yes and the only thing keeping KPERS solvent is investment returns. If Wall Street sees significant downside, funds are in trouble. Could force Kansas into issuing pension obligation bonds which would further hit the taxpayer in already one of the highest taxed states in the country.


No, there are other solutions. If transactions on Wall Street were taxed .01% per transaction it would raise $50 Billion. I don't know why the average American defends Wall Street when they free load off of the middle to lower class,


Great idea but any attack on Wall Street will cause big sell off thus attacking every middle class investment and pension


A 1 cent flat tax per transaction what an attack on Wall Street. What about Wall Street crashing our economy off fraudulent financial packages which is an attack on the average citizen.


With the Exception of that Republican...who calls herself a Democrat--Tulsi Gabbard--this is the Greatest Collection of Super Candidates that has ever run for President! Gabbard should be asked by other Democrats what she differs with Trump and the Republicans on. I don't think there is even one thing! That is why she is NOT seeking re-election for Congress in Hawaii. She is a Nazi!


I don't know to call someone who served in the military a nazi is entirely fair. She has a zero percent agreement rating with NRA. I can see her position on wanting to fully eliminate these regime change wars since she has served in the military. Although I do not agree with fully getting out is the adequate solution, I see her point.

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