Mike Bloomberg Reconsidering Decision Not To Run For President?
Michael Bloomberg is reportedly reconsidering his decision not to run for President.
Mike Bloomberg might end up running for president, after all.
Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, has indicated to associates in recent weeks that Joe Biden’s recent struggles against Sen. Elizabeth Warren are making him rethink his decision to stay out of the 2020 Democratic primary. That’s according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversations were deemed private.
Bloomberg has signaled he’s “still looking at” running for president, but people close him say that the only way he could even go down that path is if Biden’s fortunes suffer so much that he drops out before or during the early stages of the primary. Bloomberg could then enter the race as one of the rare moderates with enough name recognition and campaign funding to make a run. Forbes estimates his net worth at $51 billion, and he was planning to spend over $100 million on a campaign for president if he ran.
“I think it’s something he wants. He has not been shy about that,” one of Bloomberg’s allies familiar with the talks told CNBC. “Nothing can happen unless Biden drops out, and that’s not happening anytime soon,” this person added.
Bloomberg’s reconsideration of the idea of running for President seems to be linked to recent polling that appears to show former Vice-President Joe Biden losing ground to Senator Elizabeth Warren in the polls. This has also cocincided with President Trump and his supporters seeking to divert attention from the President’s efforts to solicit damaging information about Biden and his son from leaders in Ukraine and China. Based on this, Bloomberg apparently sees a potential opening in the center-left “lane” in the Democratic primary if Biden’s campaign somehow collapses and sees himself as someone who could step in Biden’s place notwithstanding how late in the race it actually is.
This isn’t the first time that Bloomberg has considered a run for the nation’s highest officw. 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. 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. In the meantime, sources around the former Mayor said that an announcement was likely by mid-April. Now, of course, we have that decision but given the fact that Bloomberg has come close to running in the past only to back away, his decision this time shouldn’t be all that surprising.
It’s hard to tell if these latest reports are serious, or if it’s another example of rumor-mongering combined with Bloomberg’s desire to make himself relevant in the Democratic Party. As I said, it’s exceedingly late to get into the race at this point and it’s hard to see what Bloomberg brings to the race that Biden or other candidates don’t already have. Unless, of course, you count that $100 million he says he’s willing to spend on the race.