8 November 2019
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Three-term Mayor of New York City, founder of Bloomberg LP, Michael Bloomberg has decided to keep his options open on running for the White House. His supporters are gathering signatures in the State of Alabama to put his name on the ballot for the Democratic primary there. The filing deadline is tomorrow. This is not a sign that his hat is in the ring, but it means he reserves the right to toss it there. In the opinion of this journal, he should keep his hat on and find a better way to serve the country.
The reason for a potential run is simple. As his adviser Howard Wolfson said, "We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated -- but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that." This is nonsense, as most of the top contenders are out-polling the president both nationally and in the swing states. What Mr. Wolfson meant was that the Biden campaign isn't guaranteed a win, and Mr. Bloomberg fears nominating someone on the left will be a disadvantage. However, the former mayor has enough disadvantages of his own.
First and foremost, Mr. Bloomberg turns 78 years old in February. Ageism is a social ill but so is willful denial of reality. Quite simply, that is too old to serve as president given the demands the job makes on the office holder. The policies, personality and popularity of such a candidate are irrelevant compared to the choice of vice-presidential running mate. Put bluntly, "since you are so damned old, who is your handpicked successor?" The electorate has the right to know that sooner rather than later.
Secondly, Mr. Bloomberg served as Mayor of New York City for 12 years. That is a long time, and he left a long record. Not all of it was glorious. For instance, he was and is a proponent of the policing practice known as stop-and-frisk, which was held to be unconstitutional as practiced by the NYPD while he was mayor. The unintended effect was to poison the relationship between the police and the city's youth. Most New Yorkers under 30 have a story to tell about police harassment based on this policy. A great many now refuse to help the police in any way.
Third, his centrism is out of touch with the Democratic Party's current mood. Simply put, if Joe Biden can't sell centrism, who can? Joe Biden's aw-shucks, Scranton, Pennsylvania, blue-collar appeal works with the shrinking white, non-college educated, male voters whom some in the party believe are the key to victory. It is hard to see how a Jewish New Yorker who made billions providing Wall Street with news will do a better job making that sale. It certainly isn't going to sell with Democratic primary voters.
Fourth, Mr. Bloomberg is the fourteenth richest person on the planet. One wonders whether the American admiration for self-made men has taken a hit from the 2007-2008 financial disaster. The country has always liked guys who made it, but there is an undercurrent these days that the guys who made it cheated somehow. Buying his way into the nomination and the White House won't help.
A fifth and final point, Mr. Bloomberg is more useful to the country as an elder statesman. With a fortune the far side of $50 billion, he is positioned to focus on problems and provide the resources that others can utilize in solving them.
At the moment, Mr. Bloomberg is just keeping his options open, and that is always prudent. Nevertheless, he needs to rethink whether he is the man to run waving the centrist banner or whether someone else can do it better.
© Copyright 2019 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.