Now that billionaire Michael Bloomberg has entered the race, things are going to change. The strategies for all of the top four other candidates changes and the rest of the candidates who remain can essentially pack up their campaigns and go home. But the most important change is that the nomination process will either be rapidly hastened or drawn out for much longer than it needed to be. Everything depends on how well Bloomberg does on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020.
The “moderate” lane of Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg has a new non-socialist in the mix. Bloomberg, who has been a Republican and an Independent in the past, will paint himself as the common sense alternative to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. For this reason, we can expect the Justice Democrats and their two radical progressive candidates to come after Bloomberg hard, at least at first. Will it be enough to stop him?
For Republicans, the question becomes, “Do we want them to stop him?” While some may have a knee-jerk reaction that Bloomberg is a threat to President Trump, I would counter that he represents a fissure in the Democratic Party. If President Trump defeats him, the progressive wing of the party will openly fight against the Democratic Establishment even more than they have already, which will split the party more than it has ever been. It’s their nomination to make, but that doesn’t mean Republicans can’t hope for a favorable outcome.
Now, let’s answer a few questions.
Can he actually win the nomination?
Yes. His strategy is clear: Everything comes down to Super Tuesday. While the other candidates are fighting for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, Bloomberg will be putting all of his efforts into the 14 states up for grabs on March 3rd. He will be especially focused on California, the most expensive state to campaign in with over a dozen major markets for which to make ad buys. If he can not only win it but keep other candidates from reaching the 15% threshold to receive delegates, he could wrap up the nomination for all intents and purposes in a single day.
But that is very unlikely. What’s more likely is he’s able to steal the thunder from other frontrunners who have earned delegates in the first four states. By having a strong showing on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg would eliminate all but the four frontrunners. He could even knock off one or two of the four if they also fail to have good showings in the early states. It’s hard to imagine both Sanders and Warren continuing forward beyond Super Tuesday. Whichever candidate is leading at that point will call on the other to unite the hyper-leftists in their battle against the Establishment.
This is where it gets sticky for Bloomberg. If he’s only able to eliminate a progressive and is still splitting the moderate vote with Biden and/or Buttigieg, it could make his path much harder. Despite the fact that he has more money than all of the candidates combined (including Tom Steyer and President Trump), he may not have the stomach to turn this into a $500 million primary campaign. But that may be what it takes if his message hasn’t resonated strongly enough or if his showing on Super Tuesday is lackluster.
Bottom line, yes, he can win the nomination. At this early stage I’d say his chances are about equal to Biden’s and Sanders’.
Who can stop him?
Only the progressives can stop him now. Sanders and Warren have made their campaigns about attacking the rich, and only seven or eight people in America are richer than Michael Bloomberg. But their hatred for people like Bloomberg may be enough to keep him from getting the nomination. Their way is the way of the New Democratic Party. They have taken intersectionality and victimhood to extreme levels, rallying their bases to believe all of their problems can be attributed to the people who promote capitalism. Bloomberg may be radical when it comes to gun control and climate change, but he’s still a capitalist.
A lot of it will depend on whether or not the Justice Democrats use their influence and resources to attack Bloomberg or if they’ll put their focus on taking over Capitol Hill. As much as they hate what Bloomberg represents, they may view his nomination as a necessary evil for them to ride the blue wave he may create. If they stick to congressional races and ignore the presidential nomination altogether, they may be able to set themselves up for a socialist government to emerge right around the time when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is of presidential age.
Then again, they come from the Sanders camp. They were born from his revolution. The desire to see him or Warren in the White House may be too alluring for them to ignore Bloomberg. It all comes down to whether they’re willing to sacrifice their dreams of today for a socialist vision for tomorrow. If they ignore or even embrace him as the enemy of their enemy, then Bloomberg’s chances of winning the nomination will go up. If they put their foot down, they could rally enough radicals in places like California to slow if not stop him.
Should President Trump fear a Bloomberg nomination?
This is the billion-dollar question. Bloomberg represents a type of candidate that, at least on the surface, is a strong match for the President. He’s a moderate whose radical views fall in line with a strong plurality of the country. On gun control and climate change, he’s an unabashed progressive, but he embraces a populist healthcare plan that offers government coverage to everyone without taking private coverage away from anyone. That combination is a worst-case-scenario for President Trump.
But if we dig a little deeper, we will see a Bloomberg nomination is not as damaging to the President as it seems on the surface. Bloomberg’s biggest weakness is his inability to rally the young, idealistic voters who view old rich white people as the devil. Could Bloomberg pull from the center, a group the President needs in order to win? Yes. But lest we forget, so did Hillary Clinton. She was, in many ways, more moderate than Bloomberg. But she was painted as a radical to voters, and Bloomberg will be painted the same way. Just as she couldn’t inspire the progressive wing to come out for her, so too will Bloomberg fail to get the vote out among those who simply don’t like the status quo they believe he represents.
Compared to Clinton, Bloomberg has one attribute that will turn off many Independents. He’s as radical as it comes regarding the 2nd Amendment. He’s Beto O’Rourke and Eric Swalwell, only with money behind him. And that will hurt him in the general election. O’Rourke and Swalwell may have said radical things about guns, but Bloomberg has DONE radical things about guns. His gun confiscation model will not play well in flyover country, and that includes important states like Ohio, Wisconsin, and Colorado.
I’m not ready to say a Bloomberg nomination would be ideal for President Trump to be reelected. After all, money goes a long way to determining the winner, and with over $50 billion at his disposal, he has the resources to literally buy the nomination and general election if he so chooses. But so far he hasn’t said he’s willing to invest a good chunk of his own money with some sources citing $100 million as his magic number. That’s not enough to buy the nomination, let alone the election. I would be shocked if he doesn’t spend at least $300 million before Super Tuesday.
It would be ironic if the “woke” Democratic Party comes together to nominate an old white heterosexual male billionaire to solve their problems. Whatever happens with Bloomberg’s run, we know this: the 2020 election season is going to be insane.