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Michael Bloomberg thinks the Democratic primary is a hot mess, so he's sending in the cavalry: himself. Bloomberg, the former owner of New York City, is close to making an offer on the presidency. He's reportedly called a lot of prominent Democratic "power brokers" on his billionaire hot line. No one, not even former Senator Harry Reid, managed to convince him this was a terrible idea.

Bloomberg has flirted with possible runs in the past, but this time he actually sent staffers to Alabama and you just don't do that to people unless you're serious. Today's the filing deadline to appear on the state's primary ballot. Bloomberg staffers gathering signatures in Alabama for the former New York City mayor is a solid beginning for a romantic comedy but not the start of a successful campaign.

Why is Bloomberg doing this? Part of the reason is that he's really old. No, seriously, this is what a former Bloomberg adviser told Politico yesterday:

He's tired of being the almost-ran... Mortality is weighing heavily on him. This is the last time that he can run.

Yes, the end is near for the 77-year-old Bloomberg, and so he faces his final curtain. He's had a few regrets, like losing the 2012 Olympics. He sometimes bit off more than he could chew, like the so-called "Taxi of Tomorrow." But Bloomberg believes Donald Trump represents "an uprecedented threat to our nation," and he doesn't think any Democrat in the current Thanksgiving Day parade of turkeys can defeat an incumbent president with a 41 percent approval rating.


BLOOMBERG AIDE HOWARD WOLFSON: 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. If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America's biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America's toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.

Before we proceed, I have to address the bullshit that is "high-impact philanthropist." It's how a movie trailer would describe the billionaire hero in a Tom Cruise "vehicle," where he's sky diving from an exploding airplane while fighting terrorists with the power of Scientology. "Everyone sucks so I guess I'll do it" is not the best campaign slogan. Bloomberg has the same problem as Biden: He's not offering us anything but Trump's defeat, and what if we want more than just the status quo once Trump's sent to a farm in Florida? Bloomberg's convinced that anyone offering more can't win. He also think's Biden's "weak," which is probably because Uncle Joe's not offering more. It's an electoral dilemma only someone who's never held statewide office can solve.

BLOOMBERG CRONY: Trump will get re-elected if Elizabeth Warren is the nominee. That's not something any Democrat would want. [Therefore] Mike was encouraged to take another look and reassess the race.

Elizabeth Warren losing to Trump in a humiliating Walter Mondale-level rout has become centrist dogma. However, the elitist professor has a 15 point lead over Trump in a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. She's led several national polls against Trump, which I know are meaningless because our democracy's fucked. But she's also tied with Trump in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Arizona. She's behind in Michigan, but we're a year out and have a badass sitting governor. Let's roll up our sleeves and win this.

Judge: NYPD stop-and-frisk policy violates rights www.youtube.com

I'm sure people are willing to take Bloomberg's money and tell him he's competitive in the rust belt, but he hardly has a yellow-brick road to 270 electoral votes. That folksy, "one of us" quality was Biden's major appeal and was supposed to win back white working class voters from Trump. Bloomberg is a billionaire who looks at everyone like they work for him, because they probably do whether they know it or not. He's also the founder and major financier of Everytown for Gun Safety, the Super Friends to the NRA's Legion of Doom. That's noble work but it's pretty easy for the GOP to paint him as a gun grabber.

I lived in Manhattan during most of Bloomberg's administration. I appreciated his smoking ban because it allowed me to safely pursue my drinking problem well into my 30s. However, conservatives both in and outside of New York frequently denounced the mayor's "nanny state" policies, such as the failed soda ban. He also oversaw a program that distributed condoms and birth control pills — including the Plan B "morning-after pill" — at school. They'll love him in Alabama.

Mayor Bloomberg's Sugary Soda Ban Shot Down by Judge www.youtube.com

But economically, Bloomberg is your standard plutocrat. Post-Trump, we no longer see "self-funding" campaigns as heroic. It's a demonstration of how much money the truly wealthy have to burn. It effectively cuts out supporters from feeling a small but important part of a grassroots organization. Trump jokes about serving more than two terms, but Bloomberg actually did have the law changed so that he could serve a third term. (He claimed the financial crisis of 2008 made it imperative he remain in office.)

Black people, a major electorate in a Democratic primary, aren't crazy about New York's "stop and frisk" policy, which Bloomberg presided over and still defends. He also thinks marijuana legalization is "the stupidest thing anyone has ever done." But his campaign says "hold my beer."

Bloomberg is a Rockefeller Republican dropped into the 21st Century. He's horrified that there are guns everywhere and the president is a criminal. But he has no significant base of support in the Democratic Party. Independent voters are sought after but they're a smaller percentage of voters than Democrats and Republicans, both of whom Bloomberg alienates on key issues.

Yesterday, Warren graciously welcomed Bloomberg to the race that he's going to spoil for Biden.

Bloomberg's vanity campaign is insulting and doomed to fail. Can we please call it good on entitled white men running for president? We're set for the year.

[The New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.

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