Mike Bloomberg Apparently Running For President For Some Reason

Mike Bloomberg is apparently entering the race for the Democratic nomination.

Back in March, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has flirted with the idea of running for President in the past, ruled out the idea of running for President as a Democrat as had been speculated for many months prior to that. Notwithstanding that, it was reported in October that Bloomberg was reconsidering that idea in light of the rise in the polls of potential nominees such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, who Bloomberg has made clear he does not believe would be electable. This morning, it appears that Bloomberg may be taking a step toward a seemingly quixotic late entry into the race with news that he will be filing papers to enter the primary in at least one state and potentially others:

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is making plans to enter the Democratic presidential primary campaign this week, a reflection of anxiety among party elites about the unsettled field of current contenders.

Bloomberg, who as one of the world’s richest men would bring significant financial resources to his own campaign but also inflame the populist wing of the party, plans to file paperwork and has dispatched staff to Alabama to ensure he can get onto the ballot in a state that has a Friday filing deadline. He has been calling top party officials to let them know of his plans and could make an announcement as early as next week.

The move marks a major reversal for Bloomberg, who announced in March that he would not run for president, and also serves as a public rebuke of the performance so far of former vice president Joe Biden, who has attempted to build a coalition of the same moderate Democrats that Bloomberg would court.

One of the driving reasons Bloomberg decided against joining the race earlier this year — he announced his decision seven weeks before Biden entered — was his view that Biden was too formidable a contender. But in the months since, Biden has been underwhelming, remaining among the race’s leaders but halting in his debate performances and stumbling over raising the tens of millions necessary to mount a strong campaign.

Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson would not take on Biden personally in confirming the billionaire’s plans but did allude to questions about the field.

“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated,” Wolfson said. “But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.”

Concern is also rippling through the Democratic Party over the others at the top of the candidate pile. The liberal policy positions advanced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are seen by many as unpalatable in general election contests in the states expected to determine the winner. Sanders’s health is also an issue after his October heart attack. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has attracted attention and raised substantial money, but he has little support among African Americans, one of the party’s most important constituencies.

Bloomberg, 77, has been outspoken in his opposition to Warren’s and Sanders’s intentions to raise taxes on the extremely wealthy like himself, and on Thursday they returned the ill sentiments.

“The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared,” Sanders wrote on Twitter after news of Bloomberg’s possible entry became public.

“Welcome to the race, @MikeBloomberg!” Warren tweeted, providing a link to the impacts her policies would have on billionaires. She also sent out a fundraising email saying “the wealthy and well connected are scared.”

Axios is out with more details about what’s behind Bloomberg’s decision to take these steps:

Mike Bloomberg is jumping into the Democratic presidential race because he believes that Joe Biden is fading, opening the moderate lane next to Elizabeth Warren, sources close to the former New York mayor tell Axios.

Why it matters: “Mike will spend whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump,” a Bloomberg source said. “The nation is about to see a very different campaign than we’ve ever seen before.”

  • I’m told there’s no way he’ll later run as a third-party or independent candidate, partly because of ballot-access hurdles.

Theory of the case: Bloomberg, who according to Forbes is worth $52 billion, will self-fund, allowing him to run an essentially national campaign at a time when the rest of the field is raising money and focusing on early states.

  • Bloomberg, who will make a final decision “soon,” isn’t expected to seek or accept campaign contributions, according to a second source.
  • Bloomberg had been focused on how he could best influence 2020 from the outside. But he increasingly became concerned that all the leading Democrats have weaknesses Trump could exploit in the general election.
  • Bloomberg sees himself as an anti-Trump: practical and pragmatic, a self-made business leader, committed to issues such as climate and guns, and someone who recognizes the value of multilateralism and coalitions over isolationism.

What’s next: The Bloomberg buzz ignited yesterday with the news that he’ll file today to qualify for the primary in Alabama, which has an early filing deadline.

  • I’m told he’ll quickly ramp up in other states with deadlines approaching, including Arkansas, New Hampshire, Florida, California and Texas.

Today’s announcement coincides with the November 8th deadline for candidates to file to be on the ballot for the Alabama primary on March 3rd, and there are a number of other deadlines coming up that Bloomberg would need to comply with if he’s actually running for the nomination. Next Friday, for example, is the filing deadline for the New Hampshire primary and the filing deadline for Arkansas’s deadline is this coming Monday. After that, the month of December has deadlines for at least ten states and then there are deadlines starting in January and ending in March for all of the other states in the country. Getting on the ballot and getting a campaign up and running from scratch is going to be difficult, to say the least.

This isn’t the first time that Bloomberg has considered a run for the nation’s highest office. As James Joyner noted in a post all the way back in 2006, there was speculation thirteen years ago that Bloomberg, who was then still serving as Mayor of New York City, might run in the upcoming 2008 race as an independent. No such run took place, of course, but the rumors continued well into 2007, at which time James Joyner correctly noted that an independent bid at that time would have likely helped Democrats in the 2008 election. before finally fizzling out. Four years later, as the 2012 elections drew closer and again while he was still serving as Mayor, the rumors of a Bloomberg Presidential run, either as an Independent or as a Republican, returned. As I noted at the time, while Bloomberg was denying at the time that he was running he certainly was sounding at the time like someone who was at least thinking about it, Because of this, pundits continued to speculate about what kind of impact a Bloomberg run, apparently as an Independent, might look like in 2012. Again, Bloomberg passed up an opportunity to run in that election. Four years later, there was again speculation about an independent Bloomberg bid, especially in as it became more and more apparent that Donald Trump was going to win the Republican nomination. While polls at the time showed little public enthusiasm for a Bloomberg run, it was later reported that the now former Mayor had come closer to actually getting into the race than he had in the past but that he ultimately concluded that his presence in a race between Trump and Hillary Clinton would help Trump and hurt Clinton. Based on this, he decided not to run yet again.

As we got closer to the beginning of the 2020 cycle, there were signs that Bloomberg might be more serious about running for President than he has been in the past. The first sign of this came last October when it was reported that he had changed his party registration to the Democratic Party. On some level, this was hardly a surprise since Bloomberg had been a registered Democrat before switching parties to become a Republican largely for the purpose of running for Mayor of New York City since his advisers had concluded, with good reason, that it would have been difficult if not impossible for him to win the Democratic Primary in 2001 as a Democrat. Prior to that, though, Bloomberg had revealed his return to the Democratic fold with the announcement that he was prepared to spend millions of dollars to help Democrats regain control of Congress in the 2018 midterms. In the end, it’s estimated that Bloomberg put as much as $100 million into the effort. On the eve of the General Election last year, it was reported that Bloomberg was inching closer to getting into the 2020 race as a Democrat and that he was willing to open his own pocketbook to fund his campaign. Those plans appeared to come to an end back in March, though, when it was reported that Bloomberg was ruling out a run and that he would instead use his money to advocate for 2020 candidates and for the issues he has concentrated on in the past, including gun control. More recent reports stated that Bloomberg, who apparently had again assembled what would have been a highly experienced team of advisers as he had in 2016, was planning on a run that ran more to the center of the Democratic Party than a campaign that appealed to the progressive wing of the party.

The latest news, of course, comes amid polls that show Elizabeth Warren on the rise against Biden to the point where the race for the Democratic nomination seems destined to become a choice between her progressivism and the center-left positions for which Biden is currently seen as being the primary advocate. With some Democrats concerned that Biden’s campaign, while it remains in the lead nationally, and polling strongly in all four early primary and caucus states, is slipping, Bloomberg apparently believes that this center-left wing, which could also at least theoretically be occupied by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Bloomberg’s moves, while preliminary, are obviously a reflection of his belief that if Biden’s campaign somehow collapses there could be nobody capable of stopping Warren and giving her the nomination, something that many believe will make Trump’s re-election far more likely.

While all of that may be true, it’s hard to see how Bloomberg getting into the race at this point is going to make a significant difference. For one thing, with just 88 days until the Iowa Caucuses, it’s hard to see how a candidate who has not participated in any of the debates, not campaigned on the ground, and not hired campaign staff or courted endorsements in any of the early states as far as we know is going to be able to run anything approaching a viable campaign. Yes, he could potentially overwhelm the other candidates when it comes to campaign spending but, as we’ve seen before, money only goes so far in a political campaign. Finally, there’s the fact that polling has consistently shown little support for a Bloomberg candidacy among Democrats. If Bloomberg wants to have an impact on the race, he would be better advised to use SuperPACs and other means to advocate for the candidate he supports, or against those he opposes. Stepping into the race with what appears in all respects to be an entirely quixotic bid for the Presidency.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    Most likely outcome–he gets no significant support. 2nd most likely outcome is he eats into Biden’s numbers.

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  2. grumpy realist says:

    Someone should point out to Bloomberg that “Running for POTUS” is more than just an entry on your bucket list.

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  3. Kathy says:

    A retired(?) elderly billionaire needs a hobby.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    I can’t imagine that a 77-year-old billionaire who was a Republican during his elected career would be viable in the Democratic primary, especially in the current atmosphere. That said, I think he is indeed better suited to square off against Trump a year from now than Warren, Sanders, or the current version of Biden.

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  5. Kit says:

    As a Warren supporter, all I can say is… Go, Bloomberg!

    The logic seems to be that Joe’s voters will come running once they see that they need no longer settle for a moderate Democrat, and can instead have a moderate Republican. Same with Pete’s voters, because they are not really excited by his young blood, but were simply protesting that no one else was quite old enough.

    Anyone care to make an early prediction of his share of the vote in the first primary?

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  6. Chip Daniels says:

    I admit to being very partial to Warren, but I just don’t see any appeal to the lukewarm bowl of porridge that is the old white guy.

    No, not that old guy, the other one. No, I mean the other one. No, the one next to him. Yeah, that one.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This is proof that one needn’t be especially smart in order to get rich.

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  8. Kit says:

    Maybe I was overhasty and left out one major constituency: D’s with a bad case of Trump envy who wish their party could find a successful businessman. Who know, an outsider ready to drain the swamp. Well, assuming there’s anything left of that swamp by the time Trump leaves.

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  9. Chip Daniels says:

    @James Joyner:
    I read a short news story long ago about two 90 year old men in a nursing home who got into a fight over a woman. They decided to settle it like honorable men and faced off in the hallway with pistols.

    In the ensuing duel, they managed to unload both guns, with bullets hitting the ceiling, the floor, the windows and doors but not each other.

    When the police arrived they had to search for one of them, because he had gotten disoriented and wandered off, while the other one had to take a seat but was cursing and ranting in between hits of oxygen.

    Somehow that is what I imagine a Trump/ Sanders debate would be like.

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  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    The assumption that Biden is fading and there is an opening for another candidate to pick up his voters is true. But a geriatric billionaire who switches parties when it is to his electoral advantage?

    Me thinks not.

    If moderate Dems who believe Biden is fading or can’t win, want someone other than Warren, then they should sign on to Klobuchar. At least Amy’s moderate campaign is showing a pulse.

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  11. wr says:

    I think the reason is pretty obvious. The only people who matter in the universe — that is, rich Wall Streeters — hate Warren because she dares to suggest that everything in the country shouldn’t either be for sale or run by rich Wall Streeters, and even has the gall to suggest they should pay some taxes. And since he hears this from all his Wall Street billionaire friends, and Wall Street billionaire friends are all he’s got, he assumes it’s a groundswell across the country.

    Bloomberg did some good things as mayor, but most of what he did was intended to make it a happier place for the super-rich to live in. Some of that trickled down, a lot of it didn’t.

    Either way, it seems like an odd time for him to be running. Kind of telling when you listen to the entire Morning Joe gang gushing about Bloomberg and how great he is on guns, not one person brings up the concept of inequality.

    Somehow I think Warren will…

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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    I don’t dismiss Bloomberg. Biden is weak in the ‘moderate lane.’ Buttigieg is positioned to move up if Biden falls, but Pete was mayor of South Bend, Indiana and Bloomberg ran New York City – larger population than 40 states – and did it well by most accounts. Plus: money. So much money that even if Trump is worth what he claims to be worth, Bloomberg can buy him and the entire Trump Crime Family with the loose change in his car’s ashtray.

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  13. gVOR08 says:

    Per WAPO above,

    a reflection of anxiety among party elites about the unsettled field of current contenders.

    This does not seem to really follow from Bloomberg deciding to start a self funded campaign. We’ve had many discussions of the entrepreneurial nature of US campaigning. Party elders may in fact be anxious, but Bloomberg entering the race doesn’t demonstrate anything except that Bloomberg decided to run.

    Yang’s in, albeit a bit left. (Who told him wearing a MATH lapel pin was a good idea?) Is Steyer still in? Did the Starbucks guy ever get in? And Biden is still leading polls. The lane isn’t that empty.

    It’s the argument about flipping the middle v base enthusiasm. Bloomberg may have some appeal to the undecided middle, to the extent it actually exists, but I can’t see him generating much enthusiasm from anybody. I do confess some fondness for a Warren/Bloomberg ticket. She can send him to funerals in the Baltics. And it would be fun watching the GOPs paint Bloomberg as a socialist.

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  14. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If moderate Dems who believe Biden is fading or can’t win, want someone other than Warren, then they should sign on to Klobuchar. At least Amy’s moderate campaign is showing a pulse.

    Does it have a pulse?

    I could make a contrary argument that voters have had plenty of time to look at the 2% candidates, and that they have found them lacking, so if one doesn’t want Biden, they should look outside the current set of candidates.

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  15. gVOR08 says:

    To me, the major issues are global warming, rising wealth inequality, and repairing our international standing. Bloomberg may be OK on two out of three. I’ve always voted in the primary for whichever of the leading Ds I though had the best chance in the General. If that’s Bloomberg when they get to FL I’ll vote for him. If he’s nominated I’ll donate and work for him. But I expect he’d be very bad on inequality.

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  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:
    I’m watching to see how Bloomberg handles inequality. If he’s smart he’ll do something surprising and try to eat the wind out of Warren’s sails.

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  17. Hal_10000 says:

    This will be interesting. I expect there will be some interest in Bloomberg until he opens his mouth (he’s against marijuana decrim, for example, and has a lot of views way out of step with even mainstream Dems).

    OTOH, I said that about Trump so … who knows?

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  18. JKB says:

    Well, an impeachment trial in the Senate will take Bernie, Warren, Harris, Klobuchar, etc., off the campaign trail and off the televisions screens for the duration. They’ll be required to be in the Senate 6 days a week and make no public comments. That’ll leave Biden, Mayor Pete and now Bloomberg out on the trail possibly up to Super Tuesday.

    I did just read of stirrings by the Holder “camp”. It’s all very pacy. But probably mostly smoke as the deadlines for getting on ballots pass.

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  19. Jen says:

    Taking my cue from the “okay boomer” meme that is now a thing, I’m going to ask if the Silent Generation is EVER going to sit down and actually be quiet.

    We do not need another septuagenarian in the Democratic primary. This is not the answer to the “unsettled field,” which really amounts to a bunch of Wall Street Dems mad that Warren is gaining traction. She’s not even my candidate (I’m with Buttigieg), but honestly yet another vanity run by a billionaire? No thanks.

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  20. Gustopher says:

    @Kit:

    The logic seems to be that Joe’s voters will come running once they see that they need no longer settle for a moderate Democrat, and can instead have a moderate Republican. Same with Pete’s voters, because they are not really excited by his young blood, but were simply protesting that no one else was quite old enough.

    I think the logic is that Biden has weak but broad support, and is a weak candidate, but none of the moderate Democrats (including Buttigieg) are able to challenge him for one reason or another (they try, but they don’t catch on).

    And he’s more of a liberal Republican than a moderate Republican. It’s an endangered species, rarely seen in the last 50 years, and only in the Northeast, and which roughly translates to a moderate Democrat — more pro-business, more socially liberal, but in the ballpark.

    And I think you are writing him off prematurely. He’s not one of the random billionaires wandering into the race like Steyer or Schultz, he was mayor of NYC. He can also afford to compete in later primaries, even if he does poorly in the first few — he can run a national primary strategy from day one, rather than bootstrapping it from donations that come in after doing well in Iowa or New Hampshire.

    Whether anyone wants him, I have no idea.

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  21. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    Well, an impeachment trial in the Senate will take Bernie, Warren, Harris, Klobuchar, etc., off the campaign trail and off the televisions screens for the duration.

    The impeachment trial might be a massive boon to Harris. Experienced prosecutor, good at asking questions, and a national spotlight… That’s a combination that could play out very well.

    She hasn’t been a great campaigner, but this plays to her strengths.

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  22. Kit says:

    @gVOR08:

    To me, the major issues are global warming, rising wealth inequality, and repairing our international standing.

    I’d add to that the toxic news/entertainment complex on the Right, along with a serious war being waged on democracy anywhere the Right is in power. Unfortunately, apart from fixing our international alliances, I don’t think any movement is likely if it conflicts with the interests of Big Money.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m watching to see how Bloomberg handles inequality. If he’s smart he’ll do something surprising and try to eat the wind out of Warren’s sails.

    Not impossible, I suppose, but walking the line between centrist and class warrior seems like wanting to be all things to all people. A better centrist than Biden and a better progressive than Warren? Good luck with that.

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  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think the logic is that Biden has weak but broad support, and is a weak candidate, but none of the moderate Democrats (including Buttigieg) are able to challenge him for one reason or another

    IIRC in Team of Rivals there’s an anecdote about Lincoln being asked if one of the rivals in his cabinet would run for president again. Lincoln replied to the effect that once the presidential bug bites a man it never lets go. I think Bloomberg is driven by ego, not calculation. Except to the extent his political staff make calculations, based largely on their desire to keep their jobs.

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  24. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I expect there will be some interest in Bloomberg until he opens his mouth (he’s against marijuana decrim, for example, and has a lot of views way out of step with even mainstream Dems).

    He may drop some of those positions. He’s very pragmatic. Not without values, like Trump, but pragmatic. And very open about it.

    When running for Mayor, he explained his switch to the Republican Party as being because the Democratic Primary was crowded, while the Republican Primary was pretty open, and he wanted to skip to the final round. He literally explained this while running. Honestly, openly pragmatic.

    If opposing marijuana decriminalization is going to hurt him, I expect him to say that he opposes decriminalization, but just doesn’t care much about it and he won’t interfere with states that do decriminalize.

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  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Kit:

    I’d add to that the toxic news/entertainment complex on the Right, along with a serious war being waged on democracy anywhere the Right is in power. Unfortunately, apart from fixing our international alliances, I don’t think any movement is likely if it conflicts with the interests of Big Money.

    I agree almost completely. In the US the war on democracy is fueled by big money. I assume that’s the case elsewhere. So I see anti-democracy as a subset of inequality as an issue. For rich people, democracy is a problem. They see it as poor people after their stuff. After all, in the last 50 years we’ve raised the top income tax rate from 90% to 30. Oh wait… that’s an example of how stupid their fears are, not of why they might fear.

    And I agree that the RW news bubble is a huge problem, underlying all other problems, but I don’t see anyone running on any proposed solution. Nor can I see a feasible policy solution myself.

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  26. Kit says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think the logic is that Biden has weak but broad support, and is a weak candidate, but none of the moderate Democrats (including Buttigieg) are able to challenge him for one reason or another (they try, but they don’t catch on).

    Such a strategy seems to be predicated on Bloomberg’s ability to more or less eat Joe alive, and then scoop up whatever else he needs by draining support away from the other moderates. And to do it pretty quickly. I don’t see it. Joe just might have managed such a trick four years ago, as people were eager for it. But Bloomberg is no vintage Joe, at least the way I read it.

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  27. Kit says:

    @gVOR08:

    And I agree that the RW news bubble is a huge problem, underlying all other problems, but I don’t see anyone running on any proposed solution. Nor can I see a feasible policy solution myself.

    Unfortunately, neither can I. My only hope is that it is money that underlies all the rest, and that draining that swamp will help with the others. Still, the current problems seem to all prop each other up, making any progress difficult.

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @Hal_10000:

    OTOH, I said that about Trump so … who knows?

    We can’t totally dismiss it, but there are important differences with Trump. He entered the field much earlier, enough to be present at every debate. He quickly shot to the top of the polls and stayed there for the entire race. Most people didn’t believe it would last, but he was objectively the front-runner basically the entire time he was a candidate. I suppose Bloomberg technically has time to see his poll numbers rise, but up to now he’s never broken 2%. And whatever else you can say, he most certainly doesn’t represent an id for Democratic voters, the way Trump did for GOP voters.

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  29. JKB says:

    @Gustopher: Experienced prosecutor, good at asking questions, and a national spotlight

    Yeah, but she must sit quietly and listen to the testimony. She can submit questions, in writing, to the Senate impeachment manager, likely Lindsey Graham. This is solemn trial and not the normal senate hearing dog and pony show.

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  30. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    I think Bloomberg is driven by ego, not calculation.

    The important thing to remember about ego in politics is that it functions in a self-reinforcing loop, because the politician surrounds himself with sycophants who are constantly telling him how great he is, and he consumes media that reinforces his own beliefs. This is particularly true when it comes to wealthy centrists. These are people trapped inside a bubble where they perceive that their pro-plutocratic, secular, culturally tolerant worldview represents a silent majority, an attitude they rarely stop to question because they see it as nothing more than plain common sense.

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  31. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: There’s an article over at Raw Story (too lazy to link) which is discussing the amounts of cash that are being raised in four states (Maine, Colorado, Arizona, Iowa) where a senator is considered vulnerable and how the Republicans are having a cow because a) it’s much, much more than they considered possible, b) all of this is being done by state groups, totally separate from the DNC, and c) the local Republicans haven’t done anything yet. Suddenly all the money fund-raising-allowed-by-the-Constitution-hush-hush-no-need-to-give-donors’-names is coming back to bite the Republicans in the ass when it’s being done by the other side and they really don’t like it.

    Ha ha ha goose and gander….

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  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kit: I’ll take 1-3% if it’s not already taken.

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  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen:

    …yet another vanity run by a billionaire? No thanks.

    Marx was right about the whole capitalism creating too much excess capital thing and billionaires have got to spend it on something. As long as there’s small chance of his winning, this may be as good a way to recirculate a few million as anything else.

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  34. Pylon says:

    Trump would eat Bloomberg alive. He’d use Warren’s “for the little guy” ethos against Bloomberg. I actually think Bloomberg has some good criticism of Trump, but he’s better as a bomb thrower from the sidelines.

    I have no clue why he’s doing this – he can’t win. Perhaps he’s trying to either get Biden to pick up the anti-Warren Mantle more firmly, or convince Warren to back off of some of the more anti-rich proposals she has.

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  35. dmichael says:

    @Gustopher: You’re assuming that she (as well as any other senator) will get to ask questions. Richy Mitch will get to set the “trial” procedures. If there is anything approaching a trial, it might be handled by trial managers and not bloviating senators.

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  36. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I shall accept that point, it’s a decent one!

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  37. Tyrell says:

    @Kit: RW news -a “problem”. I would add to that the left wing, controlled media that includes the clueless CNN, the corrosive and phony MSNBC. Even Larry King said “it’s not news”.
    “Iron” Mike goes around getting $40 martinis while want to take soft drinks away from the working class, regular people. He is surrounded by guards who are armed with automatic weapons, yet want to take gun rights away from the regular people.
    He is a strong capitalist, which puts him ahead of Warren and Sanders. We don’t need someone trying to take away our health insurance plans.

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  38. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell:

    We don’t need someone trying to take away our health insurance plans.

    To a first order approximation, the only people who like their health insurance plans are the people who have been lucky enough not to need their health insurance plans.

    As a corollary, I would posit that the fastest way to get us to single payer would to go around breaking people’s kneecaps. But, that would be wrong.

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  39. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “I’m watching to see how Bloomberg handles inequality.”

    Blacks in New York already know how he handles inequality. He makes sure the cops are free to harass any African-American citizen for no reason — stop’n’frisk, you know — just in case there’s any kind of chance they might later annoy a white person.

    Oh, and he keeps the press out when he sends the cops to violently break up anti-Wall Street protests.

    He’s got a lot of strengths, but he’s the Good King type — he will take care of the peasants as long as they don’t get out of their place.

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  40. DrDaveT says:

    I still say that if Bloomberg really wants Trump to go down, he could do much more damage by running as a Republican and forcing Trump to debate him. Months of preaching Trump’s crimes and evil to Republicans, facts in hand, plus making him look foolish face to face, would be priceless. Trump might not even make it to the convention.

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  41. DrDaveT says:

    @Tyrell:

    He is a strong capitalist, which puts him ahead of Warren and Sanders. We don’t need someone trying to take away our health insurance plans.

    Some day, T, you will finally grasp that nobody wants to take away your health insurance more than the “strong capitalists”. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.

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  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tyrell:

    We don’t need someone trying to take away our health insurance plans.

    And yet you sound as though you prefer Republicans–who voted 2 years ago to take away “our health insurance plans” only to be upended by probably the only noble thing John McCain did that year. Do you ever listen to yourself?

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  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I still say that if Bloomberg really wants Trump to go down…

    Call me cynical, but I suspect that Bloomberg may only want Warren and/or Sanders to go down. The general election is not even in his line of sight.

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  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    It will be very interesting watching South Carolina polls. That’s the proving ground for strategies targeted at African-Americans. I wonder how much they’re motivated by loyalty to Obama’s wing man, and how much is tactical, looking for a winner. If I were Bloomberg I’d go to SC, offer up a mea culpa on stop and frisk and go hard on the ‘I can win’ message.

    It makes me happy knowing that Bloomberg scares Trump.

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  45. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Call me cynical, but I suspect that Bloomberg may only want Warren and/or Sanders to go down. The general election is not even in his line of sight

    There are ways to try to do that from the sidelines. He can buy a platform. If he runs, it’s because he wants to win. Or he has a book to sell. One of the two.

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  46. @James Joyner:

    That said, I think he is indeed better suited to square off against Trump a year from now than Warren, Sanders, or the current version of Biden.

    I am not so sure. The main way a Democratic nominees will be suited to square off against Trump will be the degree to which that nominee can motivate Democrats to vote. I don’t see Bloomberg doing that.

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  47. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: ” If I were Bloomberg I’d go to SC, offer up a mea culpa on stop and frisk and go hard on the ‘I can win’ message.”

    You could be right. But only if Bloomberg is a sleazy opportunist who is willing to sell out all his previous positions for the new job — that is, a standard politician. My guess is that Bloomberg is much more likely to turn out to be that other pole, the Arrogant Fuck — you know, the rich guy who is convinced that his money proves he’s better than everyone else and wants everyone to acknowledge his superiority. In which case he will go to South Carolina and, as he has done before, simply explain to the Little People why they are mistaken about stop and frisk and how their lives will be better when they stop thinking their way and start thinking like him.

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  48. Hal_10000 says:

    All right, I’ve changed my mind. I now support an idea that our liberal friends and conservative friends could get behind. One that will address the critical needs of our nation.

    I now support a wealth tax. A big one. But *only* applied to people who run for President.

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  49. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The people who are enthusiastic about Bloomberg see him as a savior. But they are also the same people who have been insisting that it’s the Democrats’ duty to nominate a moderate Republican so they can feel good about voting for him.

    I have no doubt that James and Doug and Bret Stephens and Morning Joe all feel that Bloomberg would make a fine candidate and a fine president because he will govern competently and completely ignore all the issues that drove people to Trump in the first place. So after four years of Bloomberg fixing the economy by slashing taxes on the rich and on corporations further and balancing the budget by eliminating all those messy welfare programs, those lower class whites the Bloomberg people currently find so important will have been totally ignored (or worse) and will be ready to elect a demagogue worse than Trump. And Democrats won’t bother voting, because all their anti-Trump energy got them was another Wall Street presidency.

    But hey, taxes will stay low.

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  50. @Michael Reynolds:

    Plus: money. So much money that even if Trump is worth what he claims to be worth, Bloomberg can buy him and the entire Trump Crime Family with the loose change in his car’s ashtray.

    Money isn’t enough. Ask Presidents Perot and Forbes.

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