Tuesday, April 02, 2019


You may believe that Joe Biden is a creepy sex pest. You may see him as yesterday's Democrat. But Axios's Mike Allen offers a reason to hope that Biden doesn't abandon his plan to join the presidential race:
Michael Bloomberg might still run for president in 2020, especially if former Vice President Joe Biden winds up not getting in, according to people who have discussed the matter with the former New York mayor.

... These people tell me that Bloomberg, 77, who announced March 5 that he wouldn't run, might reconsider if a centrist lane were to open up. The most likely scenario for that would be if Biden, 76, whose displays of public affection have burst into a major issue, were to stay out or fade fast.

... we're told Biden's presumed candidacy was a fairly significant factor in Bloomberg's decision, after massive spending on data and polling.

The race looked like "a bloody fight for the same slice of voters," a source said.
I don't think Bloomberg in the Democratic primaries would be a huge threat. He's uncharismatic. He's not just out of touch with Democratic progressives on newly mainstream ideas like Medicare for All, he's out of touch with critics of the criminal justice system -- including, I assume, many African-American voters who don't fit the "unrealistic progressive" stereotype -- because he's never abandoned his support for stop-and-frisk policing, even though crime in New York City has remained low in the years since his administration was legally compelled to abandon the tactic. I don't think he has a chance of winning the nomination.

But he's on the side of good on many issues -- guns, climate change, the sheer awfulness of Donald Trump -- so I'd like Democrats to have access to his money. Here are his plans for that money, as reported by Politico back in February, before he announced his decision not to run:
Billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is preparing to spend at least $500 million from his own pocket to deny President Donald Trump a second term, according to Democratic operatives briefed on his plans.

Bloomberg has not yet announced whether he will run in the Democratic primary. If he runs, he will use that half-billion-dollar stake — roughly $175 million more than the Trump campaign spent over the course of the entire 2016 election cycle — to fuel his campaign through the 2020 primary season, with the expectation that the sum represents a floor, not a ceiling, on his potential spending.

If Bloomberg declines to seek the presidency, his intention is to run an unprecedented data-heavy campaign designed to operate as a shadow political party for the eventual Democratic nominee....

Plan A is straightforward: Bloomberg runs for president as a Democrat.... According to Plan B, Bloomberg uses all the data — ranging from meticulously researched profiles of voters to polling data on the top issues that move the electorate — and field staff to help the otherwise-outgunned Democratic Party nominee to end Trump’s presidency.
Maybe I'm letting down the side, but I want that money and I want all that data. I know it's meant to nudge Democrats to the center. I know it won't be on offer if Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren is the nominee.

But I think it's very possible that, on our own, we'll nominate someone other than Sanders or Warren -- and if so, I'd prefer it if Bloomberg hasn't blown the half-a-bil on his own campaign. Ending the Trump presidency is Job #1. (Winning back the Senate and holding the House are Jobs #2 and #3. I wouldn't mind if Bloomberg has a few extra bucks for those jobs, too. He did spend $100 million on behalf of Democratic congressional candidates in 2018.)

Even Democrats who are elected with Bloomberg's money might be persuaded to move left if there's grassroots pressure after the election. But there's no hope of nudging Trump or Mitch McConnell's crew leftward. So we should deprive those two of power. Get the money and the data.

Mike Allen says that the unwanted-touching stories don't seem to be deterring Biden:
I got this text last night from a source close to Biden:

"VP directed staff this evening to reach out to supporters and donors with a simple message — full steam ahead."
So Biden is probably still in -- which means Bloomberg will probably stay out. That's preferable to the alternative.

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