Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg's Chances of Becoming President: Slim, None, and Fat

The latest trial balloon from the perennial White House Hamlet contains more lead than the paint of a New York public school.



Michael Bloomberg wakes at 5 a.m. (while Bill de Blasio is busy sawing logs at Gracie Mansion), showers, shaves, slaps some Aqua Velva on his face, points tiny finger pistols at the mirror, and says, "What America needs right now to get out of this Trump mess is another unpleasant septuagenarian businessman from New York!"

No, really. The former New York mayor and longtime business-news tycoon is once again, at the spry age of 76, aggressively floating his name in connection with a presidential run that likely won't come close to the starting line. This time not as an unrealistic independent (as in 2007 and 2016), but as a member of the party he joined all of one month ago: the Democrats.

"Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then maybe a few weeks into January—that's when you really gotta sit down, talk to your advisers, and say, 'Look, do I have a chance?'" Bloomberg mused this week to the Associated Press. "I think I know why I would want to run. I think I know what I think this country should do and what I would do. But I just don't know whether it's possible."

Let me save the man a few months: It's not possible.

I say this not because Bloomberg is terrible on things libertarians care about—like eminent domain, surveillance, nanny-state soda bans, sin taxes, vaping, the Constitution, and a general do-something ideology that perennially fails to admit that it's an ideology. No, I'm saying this because the things the left disagrees with him about are deal-breakers, and the things they like would make him unsaleable to the rest of the country.

Take stop-and-frisk. Bloomberg served out his third term as mayor at the end of 2013. The street protests in Ferguson, Missouri, happened in the summer of 2014. Since then, mostly for the good, Democrats have become a party with little patience for constitutionally dubious tough-on-crime policies that explicitly target poor and minority communities. To this day, Bloomberg erroneously credits this poverty-checkpoint policy with reducing crime.

The former mayor is also an outspoken advocate for something far more libertarian-friendly: school reform. But on the national level especially, the Democrats have rejected Barack Obama's reform-curiosity for a more retrograde universal-pre-K, pay-all-the-teachers-more, charter-schools-are-bad rigidity.

The main issue on which Bloomberg and progressives passionately agree is precisely the one no national candidate in modern times has ever been able to run on successfully: gun control. Firearms, and the right to own them, remain stubbornly popular in America, and strenuous, city-slicker opposition to them constitute political no-fly zones throughout large swaths of the country. And Democrat criminal justice reformers are beginning to draw the direct line between gun control policies like stop-and-frisk and the kind of racial profiling/condescension they abhor.

I suspect the biggest reason Bloomberg 2020 will soon be declared dead on arrival is related to this succinct Jesse Walker observation from 2016: "More than anyone else in public life today, Bloomberg embodies the idea of managerial control." There may be plenty of managerial tendencies among Democrats and the politicians they support. But in an era when consumers are voting on the way candidates make them feel, the white-hot center of left-bent passion seems to be more about the vigorous, post-Boomer Benetton uplift of Beto O'Rourke and Barack Obama rather than the crabby competence of yet another New York asshole.

NEXT: FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb Says He Has to Restrict E-Cigarettes in Order to Save Them

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56 responses to “Michael Bloomberg's Chances of Becoming President: Slim, None, and Fat

  1. Firearms, and the right to own them, remain stubbornly popular in America, and strenuous, city-slicker opposition to them constitute political no-fly zones throughout large swaths of the country.

    It shan't be long until the wants of flyover country or rural America in general are a non-issue in presidential elections. Not in time for Bloomie to make a go, but it's in the future.

    1. We're one constitutional amendment away from shutting flyover country out of the national political process altogether.

      1. you do realize that those states of flyover country would have to vote yes on that amendment right?

  2. The party he rejoined a month ago.

    He was a Democrat before he ran for mayor on the GOP ticket.

    1. Donald Trump
      'til 1987 Democrat
      1987-1999 Republican
      1999-2001 Reform
      2001-2009 Democrat
      2009-2011 Republican
      2011-2012 Independent
      2012 to now Republican
      Trump was actually the "None Of The Above" candidate of 2016, middle finger to G.O.P. and D.N.C. both. .

      1. Absolutely, the rejection of the establishment. The entire republican bench was defeated in the primary and Cruz whom the establishment also hates was the only credible competitor.

  3. Matt, you seem bitter in your advancing age. I like it.

  4. Oooh, do tell. Who exactly is running for president in 2020 who gives a shit about liberty?

    1. Hint: Giving a shit about liberty is not a yes or no attitude.

      1. In practice it seems to be a no attitude.

    2. Trump.

      1. if you can look at what he's done since taking office, and say that he favors liberty with a straight face, then I can't help whatever mental illness or deficiency you have. not saying that Hillary would have been any better - her anti-liberty approach would have been at least as bad, and likely slicker and more stealthy. but to claim that Trump supports liberty is quite simply counter-factual.

    3. Just their own liberty, or do you mean everyone else's?

  5. NYC is a weird, extremely provincial cultural and political world unto itself that thinks it is the norm. For some reason they think they think they can connect to the rest of the country. They barely have connection to the rest of their state.

    1. I thought the principle feature of NYC was that it wasn't connected to the rest of the country.

      1. It is.

        But they are convinced that benighted rubes outside their city want to live like them. Or, at least, they should want that, dammit.

        1. Why wouldn't they think that? Did you see all the fly-over folks clamoring every morning in the heat or cold to wave stupid signs at Hoda and Savannah. Greatest city on earth - cowboys in Montana and farmers in Iowa get up early every morning just to keep their betters in the big cities fed.

          1. People go to Disneyworld every day, dress the entire family in mouse ears and matching t-shirts and get on the "It's a Small World" ride. It might be fun for a vacation but it's not how most of us would prefer to live every day.

      2. What, no love for the Bronx?

  6. I like the generous use of metaphors in this piece, but you forgot to close the quote in the final sentence.

  7. The main reason Bloomberg or any other wannabee Democrat contender not named Hillary has no chance is because the fix is already in at the DNC for 2020. The Democrat Party can not deny her a second chance without repudiating the whole fantastic 2016 narrative that the Clinton Foundation fund raising and the emails were all as pure and as above board as the driven snow AND that the only reason she lost is because that evil Trump machine in collusion with the Russians stole the election from her.

    Since Democrats will stick to that absurd narrative until our blue planet completely freezes over in a new Ice Age (maybe sooner than we think) a rematch of Hillary and Trump is inevitable in 2020.

    1. I certainly hope she tries. It brings to mind something Napoleon said, which I will try to paraphrase, "Never interfere when your enemy is in the process of destroying himself."

      Besides, it's Her Turn! Again.

    2. I'm glad she's going on bus tour again. If she just introduces the country to who she is...nope, can't say it with a straight face.

  8. "yet another New York asshole."

    There are 7 million more.

    Where do you live again, Matt?

  9. Don't be so sure, Matt. Three short years ago, everyone was saying the same thing about Trump. Do not underestimate the power of personal wealth. Also, Bloomberg is kind of the Democratic Party deconstructed-a smug coastal elitist prig. Much like Trump talks like the bigoted redneck caricature of the GOP voter. The Dems are thinking they must fight fire with fire here, so don't be surprised if Bloomturd gets the nod. I hope he does run just so I can vote against him, hopefully only in the primary.

    1. All the Democrat candidates are regionally popular at best. Bloomberg has zero appeal to Southerners or midwesterners or westerners.

      Kamela harris has zero appeal to southerners and midwesterners.

      1. And what of Spartacus?

        Wait... they're all Spartacus.

        My mistake.

        1. Kurt Douglas is far too old to run and hasn't made a decent film since the 60's.

          1. And he could still kick Elizabeth Warren's ass!

    2. Money is not the end all in politics. Hillary lost and she had over $1 billion spent for campaigning. The democrats spent hundreds of millions this midterm and it was an overall failure.

      Trump has money and a plan to fight for the Silent Majority. It worked.

      1. Mostly agree with this, but I'd believe that there's a bigger advantage to _having_ a lot of money than to _raising_ a lot of money.

        Raising money is a strategy, and like any other it comes with tradeoffs. You need to either spend lots of time and effort, and take lots of careful positions, in order to keep the richest people in your coalition happy enough to give (i.e. Hillary Clinton) or you need to swing way off to a political extreme so that lots of reasonably ordinary people are excited enough to give (i.e. Bernie, Ron Paul). Both of those come at political costs. Maybe Hillary would have had more time for sitdowns with regular folks in the midwest if she wasn't so busy doing fundraisers. Clinton, Obama and Romney all had probably their worst gaffes during fundraisers (deplorables, bitter clingers, 47%). And even if you don't say something stupid at a fundraiser, people don't respect politicians who seem to spend too much time and energy begging rich people for money. Part of why Jeb! felt like such a loser.

        In contrast, having money is just an asset. It lets you run a real campaign that can do stuff like rent venues and travel and put out ads while also telling the big donors in your party to go to hell and looking independent and uncorruptable. That was basically Trump's whole strategy. Probably one of the most useful things Perot had going for him too. Not to mention that having made a lot of money makes you seem smart and capable.

    3. Also, it may be time for the pendulum to swing away from Beto & Barack and toward the grumps. Like, we tried this, now let's try that.

      1. I'm pretty convinced that Team Blue could beat Trump if they could find some boring but solid person that could refrain from talking shit about everybody living more than 30 minutes from one of the 25 largest cities in the country.

        Won't happen given that the energy in Team Blue is coming from the commie contingent these days, but it would be pretty easy to play the "adult in the room" vs. Trump.

    4. The difference between Trump and Bloomberg is that Trump had a constituency he appealed to within the GOP base. Who is Bloomberg's constituency within the Democratic base? New York elites really aren't enough to win a national presidential primary. Stop-and-frisk and similar policies as NYC mayor will make him toxic with black voters who are a huge chunk of the Dem primary vote, and will also alienate much of the activist types. And the populist economic hard-left portion of the party hates Bloomberg, they view him as the ultimate Corporate Democrat. I don't see him appealing much to rural Democrats in the South or Midwest either. East coast white urban elitists isn't enough to win a Dem primary nationally, and he'll be competing with others for even those votes.

      1. Bloomberg's natural constituency is Queens and Staten Island, which translates nationally to the suburbs, basically. Basically people who are pro government but pissed off that the government doesn't function well enough. The problem is that these sorts of people are generally pretty split between being democrats, republicans and independents, so he'd have no hope unless Trump drives all of them to register as democrats and vote in the democratic primary. And even then, they'd be a pretty small base. So his tiny chance goes to no chance if Kasich or Sasse or Flake run as republicans.

  10. As predicted, the Democratic Party is falling apart.

    The blue wave turned into losing at least 2 seats in the Senate, and gaining less seats in the House than the GOP lost. Some gains in governor positions but over 25 RINOs got the boot and they were good at sabotaging the GOP agenda.

    Now the Democrats are losing voters by the thousands every day and there is not candidate good enough to beat Trump in 2020.

    Even worse is black voters are fleeing the Democratic Party.

    Worst of all is that nearly every Democrat voter voted in election 2018 and many of the races were very close. There were hundreds of thousands of Republican voters who did not vote in midterms but did during general election 2016.

    1. I have to hand it to you. It's impressive that you predicted with certainty that the GOP was going to gain seats in the House, and then when the Democrats pick up 40 you can come back here and proclaim that this election proved your prediction of the Democratic Party falling apart was correct. And the Democrats won 90% of the black vote for House races in the midterms, how are they fleeing the Democratic Party?

      1. You wont ever admit you were wrong about your blue wave claims.

        The Demcrats did not even gain enough seats to get to how many the GOP of the current 115th Congress has- 235 Republicans.

        The GOP will have lost 31 seats and flipped 4 senate seats including the shocker Florida.

        Millions of Republicans did not vote this midterm while nearly every democrat who wanted to vote did. That means that election will be a bloodbath for Democrats and trump will be re-elected.

        Then census 2020 will take House seats from blue states and hand them to Red states like Georgia and Texas.

        The Democratic Party is dying and your clinging to 31House seats during midterms and historic aberage losses.

        1. Georgia and Texas were just barely red states this year. I wouldn't count on those house seats going republican.

          True that Republicans beat incumbents in North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and Florida. Of course Democrats beat incumbents in Arizona and Nevada. I guess we can agree to disagree whether it's more shocking for Republicans to win in Florida (a swing state) or for Democrats to win a Senate seat in Arizona for the first time in 30 years.

          1. What was the margin in the Texas Governor's race this year?

            Or does Beto spending 10x what Cruz spent and Cruz having a very unlikable personality now represent Texas changing to a Dem State?

      2. 10%+ black voters fled the Democratic party and voted Republican.

        1. In 2014 (last midterm election) black voters went 89% democrat, 10% republican. In 2018, black voters went 90% democrat, 9% republican. A real stampede for the exits.


  11. The main issue on which Bloomberg and progressives passionately agree is precisely the one no national candidate in modern times has ever been able to run on successfully: gun control.


    But there's another issue. Bloomberg tried to ban drinks over 16 ounces. Anywhere in the middle or south of the country, where it gets dry, or hot, or hot and dry, them's fightin' words. There's a reason restaurants in the Southwest serve large glasses of iced sweet tea, with free refills.

    He'll never get a chance to pry my Route-44-Big-Gulp from my cold hands.

  12. News from 2015.

    "Donald Trump has no chance of winning the presidency."

  13. They don't make successful septuagenarian businessmen like they used to.

  14. Yet you always think Libertarian party candidates have a chance...

    1. That gives me a great idea! When the LP nominates Bill Weld as their 2020 candidate, they should draft Michael Bloomberg as his running mate!

      ... What?

  15. Exactly what we've come to expect from Reason. Just look at all the backwater-drinking, Bible-thumping hicks in the comments, who probably defend Trump every time he says something stupid but somehow think Bloomberg is beyond the pale. Ingrates.

    If Bloomberg were elected, he'd be the most libertarian president this country's ever had. I would say you rubes can take that to the bank, but you probably keep all your money (or what's left of it) under your soiled mattresses. (spits)

    1. Bloomberg and libertarian in the same sentence? He would be the micromanager in chief.

    2. Art, guess you got tired of wasting people's time in the comments section of the Wash Post, so you're here talking nonsense. there is NOTHING libertarian about Bloomberg -- he's one of the most top-down directive politicians ever elected. just stop flapping your gums - you're embarrassing yourself.

  16. Would the party of Bernie nominate the ultimate rich finance guy? No it will be Hilary again. LOL

  17. "unpleasant septuagenarian businessman from New York"

    think you mean 'unpleasant, unethical, crony-capitalist, septuagenarian businessman from New York who made most of his money via a combination of shady dealings & taking advantage of government programs initiated by politicians he helped elect with his seed $$'.

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