The Bloomberg factor

The mainstream media is finally starting to take notice of the Bloomberg factor. Up until now, the former New York mayor’s bid for the Democratic nomination has been virtually ignored. In the past few days, that has changed, I’ve noticed. You’ll likely be hearing a lot more about Bloomberg from here on out.

Michael Bloomberg is arguably a more formidable candidate than any in the Democratic lineup at present. But when your main competition is comprised of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden, that may not be saying much.

It isn’t impossible to imagine a scenario in which Bloomberg gets the Democratic nomination in a brokered convention. The Democrats don’t have an Obama this time around, or even a Hillary. They’re torn between the risky progressivism of Bernie Sanders, and the least-common-denominator blandness of Joe Biden. It isn’t difficult to make the case: If not Michael Bloomberg, then who?

The political calculus gets trickier, though, in the general election. In his policies and temperament, Michael Bloomberg is neither fish nor fowl. He’s too smart to embrace the moonbat socialist economics of a Bernie Sanders. He knows that the “democratic socialism” currently in vogue within the Democratic Party would bankrupt the country in short order.

At the same time, though, Bloomberg is a nanny state authoritarian who believes that the government—while under his leadership, of course—always knows best. During his tenure as NYC mayor, he famously tried to keep New Yorkers from enjoying “big gulp” sodas. After Jack Wilson stopped a church shooting in Texas with a gun of his own, Bloomberg suggested that the parishioners would have been better off waiting for the police to arrive.

This combination of positions is likely to alienate both Democrats who want free stuff, and Republicans who want individual freedom. Who, exactly, is the Bloomberg voter?

Bloomberg might do well with centrist swing voters and disaffected Republicans who simply don’t like Donald Trump. But that would be achieved at the expense of alienating progressive (i.e., socialist-leaning) Democrats. And hardcore Trump voters are going to dislike Bloomberg from the outset.

Michael Bloomberg’s net worth exceeds $50 billion. He could spend $1 billion of his own money on his campaign, and still be a rich man when it was over.

But the question is: Would he be president-elect at the end of all that? Given the current mood of both parties, a Bloomberg victory in the general election is difficult to imagine.