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Bloomberg's move a slam on Biden, 2020 Democrats

34 Comments
By STEVE PEOPLES
Michael Bloomberg Photo: AP file

All is not well in the Democratic Party's quest for a presidential nominee.

Just ask Michael Bloomberg.

The New York billionaire, whose career in business and politics has been guided by data and analysis above all, is stepping toward a Democratic run of his own less than 90 days before the first votes are cast. More than anything, his decision reflects two prime factors: the glaring weakness of establishment-favorite Joe Biden and persistent fears that his surging rival, Elizabeth Warren, is too liberal to defeat President Donald Trump in a general election.

It's far from clear that Bloomberg, a former Republican with no broad political base, can compete with Biden or Warren should he decide to run. Yet his step in that direction represents a powerful indictment of his new party's presidential field.

"This is a team that is very smart and methodical," said New York-based Democratic pollster Jef Pollock. "It reflects a feeling that the field cannot beat Donald Trump, and therefore, they feel like they have to try."

Just seven months ago, Bloomberg announced he would not enter the Democratic primary after a brief exploration phase. His advisers, at the time, privately shared their analysis that there wasn't room for another centrist like Bloomberg with Biden in the race.

What a difference seven months makes.

The former vice president showed vulnerability in his campaign's earliest days with a series of flubs and uneven performances that bothered his establishment allies. Still, Biden led in virtually every poll for much of the year because of the persistent belief that he was the most electable Democrat in a head-to-head matchup against Trump.

A turning point came last month when Biden released a weak third-quarter fundraising report that undermined a supposed strength, raising serious questions about the extent of his support from the party's power brokers. And in recent weeks, a series of underwhelming polls in Iowa and New Hampshire suggested that Biden is falling behind in the states that typically matter most in primary politics.

He is clearly trending in the wrong direction. And the universe of concerned Democrats is expanding.

They include establishment allies such as former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who encouraged Biden last month to fire consultants and stop flying on private planes. They include rank-and-file voters like Bobbi Helton, a retiree from Hilton Head, S.C., who said this week that she's still shopping for a candidate in the moderate lane.

"I've always thought Biden was wonderful," she said at an event for another candidate this week. "But watching the debates he's a step behind in his thinking. If he's going to debate Trump, Trump is going to wipe him out."

And the ranks of the concerned now officially include the 77-year-old Bloomberg, a perennial almost-candidate who is one of the world's richest men. He is moving to qualify for the presidential primary ballot in Alabama, the state with the earliest filing deadline.

It does not ensure he will formally launch a campaign, but it certainly keeps the door open.

Lest there be any doubt about what's fueling his decision, chief political aide Howard Wolfson explained Bloomberg's thinking late Thursday as the political world grappled with the significance of his boss' stunning decision to step toward a run.

"We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated," Wolfson said, "but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that."

Of course, Biden's underwhelming candidacy is only one piece. The other top-tier candidates have glaring weaknesses that have deepened Democrats' sense of anxiety as well.

Bernie Sanders is a 78-year-old self-described democratic socialist recovering from a heart attack. Pete Buttigieg is 37-year-old mayor whose chief accomplishment is leading a city that can fit into college football stadium. And Warren, who has surged past Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire, wants to eliminate private health insurance in favor of a government-backed plan she's struggling to explain how she'd pay for.

Bloomberg's team is concerned about Warren's rise, in particular.

She is the anti-Bloomberg in many ways. The Massachusetts senator has built her 2020 campaign around a series of bold, progressive ideas that would transform the nation's political and economic systems, but have little realistic chance of becoming law in a divided Congress.

Warren rails against the billionaire class, to which Bloomberg belongs, and she refuses to accept political donations from big donors like him. Her fiery brand of liberal politics is largely in line with the base of the modern-day Democratic Party, which is clamoring for dramatic change in the age of Trump.

Yet Bloomberg fears she cannot win a general election.

That's not to say there aren't other more centrist options already in the race. The current field — some 16 people strong — includes alternatives like Amy Klobuchar a Midwestern moderate, Michael Bennet, a mild-mannered senator and Steve Bullock, a red-state governor who knows how to talk to Trump voters.

But add up the averages of their support and you get to less five percent. Only one of them, Klobuchar, has qualified for next month's debate. And nine months into her candidacy, she's showing no signs of breaking out of the low single digits.

Their poor performance suggests Bloomberg, who might also struggle to qualify for debates, would need a dramatically different strategy, one that relies on national advertising and building support outside the traditional early states.

Bloomberg is far from an ideological warrior, a pragmatic former New York City mayor who formally joined the Democratic Party only in October of 2018. Earlier this year as he first explored a 2020 run, he charged that none of his more liberal critics have made as much progress on the top issues of the day: climate change, gun violence and immigration.

On all three, Bloomberg has created sprawling nation-wide organizations backed by his vast fortune that have helped enact a series of progressive shifts in cities and states across the country. Such issues have particular resonance in the nation's suburbs, Republican-leaning areas that have shifted away from Trump's Republican Party since his election.

But pragmatism and accomplishment, those were supposed to be Biden's chief selling points. For Biden, the buyers are becoming harder to find.

South Carolina Democratic strategist Boyd Brown, who's still looking for a strong moderate after his preferred candidate, Beto O'Rourke, quit the race, is open minded.

"The ones in the front of the pack now don't really motivate me, so let's see what Bloomberg's got," he said. "We've already discounted one billionaire and he's in White House."

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

34 Comments
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 rank-and-file voters like Bobbi Helton, a retiree from Hilton Head, S.C., who said this week that she's still shopping for a candidate in the moderate lane.

That leaves Delaney and Bloomberg.

"I've always thought Biden was wonderful," she said at an event for another candidate this week. "But watching the debates he's a step behind in his thinking. If he's going to debate Trump, Trump is going to wipe him out."

Trump's going to wipe out all of them, even if Michelle jumps in. It's going to be a landslide.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

No matter how many candidates enter the primary races, two or a hundred and two, only one of them will be left standing at the end.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No matter how many candidates enter the primary races, two or a hundred and two, only one of them will be left standing at the end.

True! And the hapless Dem candidate left standing will be destroyed by Trump in the general.

I personally hope Michelle jumps in and gets the nomination ( half of Dem primary voters say she has their vote, way, way higher than any of the front-runners ), it will make the Trump landslide so sweet it will make your teeth hurt.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Trump's going to wipe out all of them, even if Michelle jumps in. It's going to be a landslide.

I dont know Bloomberg is far rich and smarter than Trump, after all thats the illusion that Trump campaigned on in 2016.

Dump Trump 2020

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Front-runner geriarchy!

Anyone younger even than 60?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Bloomberg is far rich(er) and smarter than Trump

Richer, yeah, smarter, no.

Front-runner geriarchy!

Anyone younger even than 60?

Heck, there are no front-runners younger than 70!

But Trump has more energy than most 40 year olds.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The more you defend the indefensible, the less intelligent you prove yourself. You've made your point, now go.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is fantastic!

He won't win, but with his deep pockets he'll really drain Biden's war chest.

Is Bloomberg a gift from AIPAC to Trump?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I dont know Bloomberg is far rich and smarter than Trump, after all thats the illusion that Trump campaigned on in 2016.

Bloomberg is probably the 6th richest person in the US. Go and watch Bloomberg TV or read his paper, yeah, that Bloomberg, the man that is known to be a health guru and tried to push people to eat healthier and what to eat and how much of it. The man has no appeal and like Hillary, he has zero charisma, he’s 77 and not what the far, far left progressive millennial generation wants, he’s the exact opposite of their PC vision: old, short, balding, White and a man, but he can definitely put a hurting on Biden.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unlike Trump, Bloomberg earned his wealth without ripping people off on the way but like Trump, Biden, Sanders, I think these people are too old to rule. There should be an age limit.

Bloomberg might be short in height but long in bankroll. Trump is obese and his wealth, well we are still waiting for the tax returns.

Fat obese Trump vs little Michael.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Loads of boomers in the running.

When did the world run out of quality candidates?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unlike Trump, Bloomberg earned his wealth

But he still couldn’t beat Trump if he were led by Gandalf the White.

Bloomberg might be short in height but long in bankroll.

Bank roll doesn’t win you elections, now that’s what he wants, but he won’t get any traction or break 6%. Like I said, he’s short, pushy in the sense he wants to tell you what you can and cannot eat, No thank you.

Trump is obese and his wealth,

Yup!! And lovin’ it.

https://youtu.be/LS2Lcz-pTLM

Not a single Democrat candidate can fill the stadium like this guy can.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I like Joe Biden but his time has passed. The next Democrat President will be 2024 at the earliest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But he still couldn’t beat Trump if he were led by Gandalf the White.

You said the same about Trump and also said he wasn't fit to be president.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Because I thought he would lose badly to Hillary, not because I didn’t like him. But boy I was so wrong.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Because I thought he would lose badly to Hillary, not because I didn’t like him

You called him the leader of a lunatic fringe. You certainly didn’t like him. You said you supported Bush until we showed that you supported Carson.

You had a dramatic conversion when Trump looked like winning the nomination.

Your predictions aren’t very good.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You called him the leader of a lunatic fringe.

Scroll up to what I said last post.

You certainly didn’t like him. You said you supported Bush until we showed that you supported Carson. 

Scroll up to what I said last post.

You had a dramatic conversion when Trump looked like winning the nomination. 

Your predictions aren’t very good.

Actually, they are considering, the odds of Mueller taking him out never came to fruition as well I was spot on in 2010 for the House and 2014 for the Senate, so I was pretty well on the mark.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You certainly didn’t like him. You said you supported Bush until we showed that you supported Carson. 

Scroll up to what I said last post.

You didn’t say you didn’t like him because he had no chance.

You called him the leader of a lunatic fringe. That is as derogatory as any ‘liberal’ calling Trump supporters idiots. You called them lunatics.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You didn’t say you didn’t like him because he had no chance. 

I did, but I thought he was stupid to take on Hillary.

You called him the leader of a lunatic fringe.

Scroll up to what I said earlier.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Biden already has the nomination locked up - Dems see him beating Trump by double digits in even Fox News polls - that's all they need to know.

But I'm glad Bloomberg is getting in - he will take the fight to Trump at "street-level" where the others Dems are reluctant to go. Remember, he said this about Trump three years ago;

He said Trump was a hypocrite and a con artist who’s also a terrible businessman, and even seemed to question his sanity.

Plus, Bloomberg is not only a fellow New Yorker but a far richer one than Trump — even according to Trump’s exaggerated reporting of his own fortune — so his criticism has to sting a guy who measures people’s self-worth by the size of their bank accounts.

https://www.vox.com/2016/7/29/12324696/donald-trump-michael-bloomberg-dnc

Bloomberg will insult Donnie where it hurts him most - his oversize orange ego.

Couple that with impeachment, and Donnie will be melting down each day.

Go Mike!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Biden already has the nomination locked up - Dems see him beating Trump by double digits in even Fox News polls - that's all they need to know.

Yeah, they said the same about Hillary, now if Biden can fill a stadium and have thousands more outside watching on giant screens, I’ll owe you an apology.

But I'm glad Bloomberg is getting in - he will take the fight to Trump at "street-level"

And lose badly, but he at least has Judge Judy in his corner.

Bloomberg will insult Donnie where it hurts him most - his oversize orange ego. 

And that’s about it, sticks and stones....

Couple that with impeachment, and Donnie will be melting down each day.

But will never be removed.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

And Obama still haunts their heads even after three years...

From the people that have trying to get Trump out of their heads for 3 years and failed miserably at it.

So how many children were separated from their parents and locked up at the border?

Not enough.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Because I thought he would lose badly to Hillary, not because I didn’t like him. 

Since when did you start likening socialism? You called Trump an Obama lite socialist

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And I quote

"Look when both of these idiotic politicians get on SNL they both look ridiculous. But at least Trump looks a bit more relaxed on TV. Hillary....well....No matter what you do, when you put lipstick on a pig, the thing is still a pig."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Since when did you start likening socialism?

I never did.

*"Look when both of these idiotic politicians get on SNL they both look ridiculous. But at least Trump looks a bit more relaxed on TV. Hillary....well....No matter what you do, when you put lipstick on a pig, the thing is still a pig."*

Yup! Exactly!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

And I quote

"We only have a Trump because there was an Obama!"

Will we add

We only had a Bloomberg because there was a Trump?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We only had a Bloomberg because there was a Trump?

The chance of that happening is as likely as Hannity taking a job at CNN.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The New York billionaire, whose career in business and politics has been guided by data and analysis above all, is stepping toward a Democratic run of his own less than 90 days before the first votes are cast. More than anything, his decision reflects two prime factors: the glaring weakness of establishment-favorite Joe Biden and persistent fears that his surging rival, Elizabeth Warren, is too liberal to defeat President Donald Trump in a general election.

.....South Carolina Democratic strategist Boyd Brown, who's still looking for a strong moderate after his preferred candidate, Beto O'Rourke, quit the race, is open minded.

"The ones in the front of the pack now don't really motivate me, so let's see what Bloomberg's got," he said. "We've already discounted one billionaire and he's in White House." 

It's amazing that so many Democrats seem to have given up on their hopes, and dreams, that their current cluster of candidates are too weak to win the Whitehouse.

OTOH, Bloomberg is going to feel very small when he finally realizes that he's not as popular as he thinks he should be.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

And Obama still haunts their heads even after three years...

From the people that have trying to get Trump out of their heads for 3 years and failed miserably at it.

One's the current President (soon to be impeached), they other has been on vacation for three years, but lives on on the heads of Trumpers 24/7....say hello for me...

So how many children were separated from their parents and locked up at the border?

Not enough.

Great answer! Please say it more often - it speaks perfectly to the moral rot inside every Trumper...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not enough.

The modern Republican, ladies and gentleman: pro-obesity, pro-slavery, pro-genocide.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

One year, two months, and nine days until the return of sanity to the White House.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bloomberg didn't jump into the Presidential race because he thought any of the current Democrat Party candidates had a chance to actually win.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bloomberg didn't jump into the Presidential race because he thought any of the current Democrat Party candidates had a chance to actually win.

If that were true, then he must have missed all the Fox News polls that show all Top 4 Dems creaming Trump...

Maybe he's getting in to have more folks read his media articles, you know, like Trump getting in to get more people to stay at his resorts...and buy his Chinese-made ties...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He did it because plutocrats are wetting themselves at the thought that, after bleeding the working class dry for decades, they might have to give even a fraction of what they stole from the workers back. The wealthy are scared of Warren and petrified by Sanders. The rich only love their roly-poly fatso mascot Donald "Brainburp" Trump.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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