Bill Press: Battle of the billionaires?

Bill Press: Battle of the billionaires?

Wall Street executives are nervous — not just about the Chinese economy but here at home, and the battle for 2016 looks stacked against them.

On the Democratic side, the senator from Wall Street is losing ground to Wall Street’s arch-nemesis, Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, unguided missile Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE, who promises to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, leads the pack. Ted Cruz, no friend of Wall Street either, is close behind.

ADVERTISEMENT

So several financial titans have been making calls to the only man they believe can save them: Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergFirefighter who died in 9/11 honored again after remains identified Ted Cruz fires back at Lori Lightfoot: 'Mayor, your anger is misplaced' Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature MORE. And, as first reported by The New York Times, Bloomberg is flattered.

He’s so flattered, in fact — or is it so bored? — he’s already dispatched aides to cobble together a strategy on how to run as an independent candidate for president in 2016, in case Trump and Sanders, or Cruz and Sanders, become the major party nominees. And he’s indicated he’s willing to spend $1 billion of his own money on such a quixotic bid.

Just what we need in this already wild 2016 campaign: one more candidate!

But actually, the three-term former mayor of New York City has a lot more to offer than most of the other candidates in the race. He’s got the money, the desire, the airplane and 12 years of executive experience.

A former member of both parties, he has both conservative and liberal credentials. He’s close to Wall Street, but he’s also pro-choice, pro-immigration rights, and the leading advocate of gun control. Most people give him high marks as mayor, with the exception of his “stop and frisk” policy.

For Bloomberg, the big problem is that it’s a logistical nightmare for any independent candidate to get on the ballot in all 50 states. It would cost over a billion dollars. And it would all have to be done by March 1, perhaps even before we know who the Democratic and Republican nominees will be.

That’s a tough job, but not impossible. After all, Ross Perot managed to pull it off in 1992, and he ended up with 19 percent of the popular vote (but zero electoral votes).

No doubt about it, the deck is stacked in favor of the two major parties. So far, all those who’ve run as independents — Teddy Roosevelt, 1912; John Anderson, 1980; Perot — have achieved little more than facilitate or determine the election of someone else.

Even before making a decision, Bloomberg has already achieved what is probably his primary goal: He has everybody talking about him again, speculating on whether or not he could win or, more likely, which nominee, Democrat or Republican, he would hurt the most. I think that’s clear. As a moderate to liberal, I believe he’d draw more votes from Sanders and thereby help Trump or Cruz win the grand prize.

But, first, Bloomberg has to stop playing Hamlet and step up to the plate. He’s played this game before, teasing about a run for president in 2008, and again in 2012. Why should we pay any attention to him this time? Until Bloomberg actually hires a team, puts his money on the line, and makes an announcement, there’s no reason we should take him seriously.

 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “The Obama Hate Machine.”