Political opportunism is nothing new to billionaire Michael Bloomberg. As a life-long Democrat, he had no problem with switching political parties in 2001 to ride Rudy Giuliani’s Republican coattails and win the mayoralty of the city of New York. It didn’t take long for him to show his liberal, big-government, nanny state proclivities.
Bloomberg tried to present himself as a man of the people by making a big show out of riding the subway to City Hall on a regular basis. What he didn’t mention was that his motorcade routinely drove him the 22 blocks to the subway, so that he could catch an express train. The ongoing fiction of his riding the subway, like everyone else, shows that he is an incredibly methodical politician who’s willing to execute strategies over many years if he thinks there’s a political benefit to be had.
Bloomberg may have been elected as a Republican, but this life-long Democrat was finally able to live out his big-government totalitarian dreams by turning New York City into a gigantic nanny state. He signed the law that banned smoking in almost every bar in the city. He had the city’s Health Department require chain restaurants to display calorie counts in their establishments. He prohibited the sale of cigarettes to adults between the ages of 18-20. He prohibited smoking in parks, beaches, public plazas, and boardwalks. He banned the use of trans fats in restaurants. He banned donating surplus food to homeless people. And he even tried outlawing the sale of large sugary sodas (the court struck that one down).
What most people didn’t realize was that while Bloomberg was pretending to be a regular subway commuter, and methodically micromanaging every aspect of our lives, he was actually living in Bermuda. That’s right… this brash, pushy, arrogant, fascistic-minded member of the moneyed elite was only pretending to live here with the people whose lives he wanted to completely control. Yea… he was a commuter all right, he commuted from his home in another country to New York on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Bloomberg has long wanted to exert control over even more people, he’s had his eye on the presidency for quite some time. In 2007, he flirted with running as an independent for the presidency, but instead he left the Republican Party and won a third mayoral term in 2009 as an independent. Some thought that the polling he commissioned in 2008 convinced him not to run — I think he was positioning himself for a White House bid in 2012 but ultimately decided against it at the last minute. Now he’s leaking to the media that he’s seriously considering a third-party run. The New York Times says that he has instructed his “advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race.” They say that he’s told his allies that he’d likely run if the general election pitted either Trump or Cruz against Bernie Sanders. I’m not too sure it’s that simple.
Michael Bloomberg is not about to throw away a billion dollars of his own money to run in what is almost sure to be a failed third-party bid. He’s simply letting the Democratic Party know that he’s available. Hillary Clinton understands what he’s doing — he’s saying that he can replace her at the last minute. She just said publicly that he shouldn’t worry… she’ll get the nomination. But it seems more and more likely that Hillary might have some serious problems making it all the way to the nomination. Bernie Sanders is actually ahead of Hillary in Iowa in two of the three latest polls. In New Hampshire, Sanders has a double digit lead in the Real Clear Politics average of the polls. Former Secretary of State Clinton is looking less and less like a sure thing. Some believe that the FBI will almost certainly recommend that the Justice Department prosecute her. Whether Attorney General Loretta Lynch would do that or not is another story — but I can’t see it helping her.
So… where does Michael Bloomberg fit into this election? First, he does what he’s already done, he lets everyone know that he’s interested. Second, he listens closely to the political winds until his self-imposed deadline of March for a final decision comes along. By that point Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina will already have made their choices. If Hillary looks like she’s about to tank, Bloomberg can start his “independent” run. Then the game plan will be to spend as little cash as possible — only enough to keep him viable, and hope for chaos in the Democratic Convention in July.
If Sanders wins, then Bloomberg can decide (based on polling) whether to continue with the third-party bid (he probably won’t). If Hillary seems weak, has been indicted, or has lost the confidence of the party elite, Bloomberg might seem like a very good pinch-hitter for the establishment. If neither Bernie Sanders nor Hillary Clinton have secured enough delegates for the nomination, what’s to stop the superdelegates from taking matters into their own hands? After the first or second ballot, who’s to say they won’t turn to another member of the ruling class and pick Bloomberg in a brokered convention?
I’m not saying that Bloomberg won’t go through with an independent run for the for the White House if Sanders is the nominee — he might. I’m saying that being the supreme opportunist that he is, Mike Bloomberg is really just trying to secure the Democratic Nomination without all the pesky work that’s involved with winning a primary race.