In the large field of Democrat presidential candidates, there are always a few hopeless souls who make one wonder … WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? I am not talking about longshots, but rather those with no shot. I am talking about candidates like Joe Sestak, Marianne Williamson and John Delaney. Who, you say? That is my point.
I am referring to people with impressive resumes and long careers who still have no chance. They usually enter early and drop early when the realize that they are stuck with low polling numbers and even less cash – guys like Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan and Eric Swalwell.
We now have seen two latecomers enter the race. One is former Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick. At least he admitted that his candidacy has a slightly better chance than that proverbial snowball in Hell. As he put it, “It is a Hail Mary pass from two stadiums away.”
The more interesting newcomer is former New York Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Unlike Patrick, this guy thinks he can win, and he is willing to spend millions – maybe billions – of his own money to give it a try.
Bloomberg’s ONLY political asset is money. Everything about his life, personality and public record screams LOSER.
His first debility is his New York ancestry. Thanks to the arrogant and biased media, a lot of folks in flyover country do not like the New York culture – with a special disdain for New York mayors. His successor in Gracie Mansion, Bill de Blasio, took the plunge and discovered that there was no water in the political pool. He had difficulty cracking one percent in the polls.
Trump avoided the New York jinx by running as a Republican disrupter. He still has a New York pugnacious personality – which a lot of voters do not like — but he balanced that off with policies endorsed by middle America.
Bloomberg’s second problem is money. He gets two strikes for being old and white – as do Biden and Sanders – but Bloomberg gets the third. He is a billionaire – a dreaded one percenter – and a Wall Street insider, to boot. Before running for office, Bloomberg was CEO of Salomon Brothers. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have pretty much poisoned the well for super rich capitalists among a large segment of the Democrat base.
While the anti-capitalist left is gaining strength in the Democratic Party, Bloomberg has an even bigger problem with an even bigger part of the Democrat base – African Americans. His Achilles Heel in that regard has been his longstanding support for “stop and frisk” as a crime fighting measure. He defended that policy up until he decided to make a run for the White House.
In an effort to placate black voters, Bloomberg made an apology that I viewed as ineffective and humiliating. It was devoid of sincerity. It sounded like just what it was, a crass and clumsy attempt to wipe out his past record.
This was not the first time Bloomberg came across as a shameless opportunist. He flipped from Democrat to Republican to Independent to Democrat seemingly based less on political philosophy and more on political pragmatism. In terms of political ideology, Bloomberg comes across as a man without a country.
He also has a historic disadvantage that one should never talk about in these times of political correctness. But I shall, because the problem – though unspoken – is real. He is Jewish. Over the years, Jews have held virtually every elected and appointed office in America except President or Vice President.
Some point to Sanders’ success in the 2016 campaign, but alas, he did not get the nomination. In an era in which we have elected a Catholic President and a black President – two groups held back by the receding White Anglo-Saxon Political (WASP) majority – Sanders was the first Jew to ever win a presidential primary. The road to the presidency for a Jewish politician still appears to be steeper than for others. The barrier will end one day – but not likely in 2020.
Finally, Bloomberg is not a strong campaigner. He is charisma challenged. He speaks like he is addressing the board of directors – a bit like Romney did in 2014 when he lost a winnable election to Obama.
So … can unlimited money overcome ALL these problems? I am betting not, but we have never seen a multi-billionaire dollar presidential campaign before. He has already shown the advantage of self-funding by kicking off his campaign with more than $30 million dollars in advertising. That has never been done before – unless you count the $35 billion billionaire Tom Steyer spent allegedly to get Trump impeached. Most saw that as the buildup to the presidential campaign.
Unlike the Steyer, the Bloomberg ads are not going to be designed to gain name recognition – which he already has – or email lists. His will be hard-hitting political ads directed at Trump.
The fact that Bloomberg already has high name recognition is actually to his detriment. He needs to overcome the national voters’ low regard for him. At least Steyer started out with a clean slate – and even that did not work out well for him.
Bloomberg tries to sell an advantage advanced by all big money candidates only more so. He declares that he will not accept ANY donations – and that will protect him and his campaign from the influence of “special interests.” Good God! The man IS a walking and talking special interest. His money IS special interest money.
The only thing Bloomberg has going for him is the money – and that is a two-edged sword. In this political horserace, I see Bloomberg as a future scratch.
So, there ‘tis.