In the past week, two smart journalists have made interesting cases on pretty much the same subject: The potential of a bombshell alternative to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
Michael Goodwin was writing in the Post. Michael Wolff was writing in USA Today. But there’s only one Michael who really matters in this chatter. And from what I’m hearing, Bloomberg is not considering running.
Oh, the ex-mayor and current multi-billionaire listens to people tell him why he should jump into the contest, and why he’d make a great president. Who wouldn’t be flattered by such talk?
Contrary to what one of the “New York Dems” quoted in Goodwin’s Post column today says, though, Bloomberg doesn’t seem to disdain Clinton. He appears to respect and even like HRC, and he worked well with her when she was one of New York’s senators. On the other side of the aisle, Bloomberg apparently sees Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush, whom he thinks could turn out to be good presidents.
What might need to happen for Bloomberg to somehow change his mind and run as a Democrat? A complete Clinton implosion, at a minimum. But while she’s taking a beating at the moment over the Clinton Foundation’s buck-raking, it’s hard to come up with any political figure in modern American history who has proven more adept and resilient at slogging through and rising above controversy and adversity. Well, maybe her husband.
But the biggest reason we’re highly unlikely to be covering a Bloomberg ’16 campaign is the same one that prevented a much-more-plausible Bloomberg ’08 campaign: He’d only run if he believed his chances of winning were high. The Democratic primary electorate has moved leftward; Bloomberg’s issues, record, and tax bracket would — and this is an understatement — be a tough fit with the voters who’ve been pining for an Elizabeth Warren run. Even in the absence of Hillary Clinton.
Bloomberg might indeed make a terrific president. And having him in the field would certainly make 2016 even more of a bonanza for political reporters. Never say never; the world is always changing. But the odds of Michael Bloomberg running for the White House remain about as low as those of him running for mayor of London.