Press: Another billionaire need not apply

Press: Another billionaire need not apply
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It’s one of the oldest jokes in Washington, and it’s true. Every day, every member of the Senate wakes up, looks in the mirror and says to themselves: “Why not me? I could be president of the United States.” Well, now we know self-delusion’s not limited to senators. It affects former mayors, too.

Last week, Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWake up, America — see what's coming Bloomberg urges court to throw out lawsuit by former campaign staffers Former Obama Ebola czar Ron Klain says White House's bad decisions have put US behind many other nations on COVID-19; Fears of virus reemergence intensify MORE looked in the mirror and said to himself: “There’s over a dozen Democrats still running for president. They are progressives and moderates, men and women, governors, senators, members of Congress, businessmen and mayors. But I’m better than anyone of them. Why not me?” 

So, as he’s done numerous times in the past, Bloomberg announced he’s considering jumping into the Democratic primary for 2020, even though in March he admitted that starting “a four-year job at 79 may not be the smartest thing to do.” Now he’s says he’s changed his mind because he’s not sure any of the current 2020 candidates can beat President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE, but he can. And, if he runs, he’ll spend whatever it takes to win, skipping the first four state contests to make his stand on Super Tuesday, March 3, when 16 states, including delegate-rich California, hold their primaries.


OK, let’s all agree: Bloomberg’s a good man who was a reasonably good mayor of New York and has been remarkably generous in supporting progressive public policy initiatives, especially on gun safety and climate change. 

He’d be a far, far better president than clown Trump. But, with all due respect, when it comes to running for president now, Bloomberg should take another look. His mirror is cracked.

First of all, what does Bloomberg bring to the Democratic primary that’s not already there? He wouldn’t be the first white male, first businessman, first moderate, first billionaire or first New York City mayor. He wouldn’t even be the first one whose last name starts with “B.”

According to aides, Bloomberg believes he must run because he’s afraid none of the other candidates could beat Trump. Now, of course, he’s not alone in believing that. Democrats are notorious “bed-wetters,” who are never happier than when rattling their worry beads. But there’s no evidence to fuel that fear. In the latest match-up, according to RealClearPolitics, all five leading Democratic candidates would beat Trump handily: former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign raised M more than Trump in the month of June RNC, Trump campaign raised 1M in June Michigan shuts down most indoor bar service in bid to prevent virus resurgence MORE by 17 points; Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHouse Armed Services votes to make Pentagon rename Confederate-named bases in a year Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Liberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP MORE (D-Mass.) by 15; Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper beats back progressive challenge in Colorado primary Progressive groups urge Biden to tap Warren as running mate Young Turks host says Elizabeth Warren should be Biden's VP pick MORE (I-Vt.) by 14; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights Democrats debate Biden effort to expand map against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote MORE by 11; and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday If only woke protesters knew how close they were to meaningful police reform MORE (D-Calif.) by  9.

Reportedly, Bloomberg also fears the Democratic Party might veer too far left by nominating Sanders or Warren. That may or not be the case. But, even if it is, even if a middle-of-the-road candidate is needed to win key swing states, there’s no lack of solid moderates among the existing field of Democratic candidates, including Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Stagwell President Mark Penn says Trump is losing on fighting the virus; Fauci says U.S. 'going in the wrong direction' in fight against virus Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats Democrats, voting rights groups pressure Senate to approve mail-in voting resources MORE (Minn.), Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetHouse Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 'The Senate could certainly use a pastor': Georgia Democrat seeks to seize 'moral moment' Some realistic solutions for income inequality MORE (Colo.) and Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockLincoln Project releases new pro-Biden ad in swing states The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night Lincoln Project backs Bullock in Montana Senate race MORE. 


Finally, if he’s really serious about skipping Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina in order to focus on Super Tuesday, someone should remind Bloomberg that Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: With coronavirus cases surging, lawmakers and health officials weigh in Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down GOP lawmakers join social media app billed as alternative to Big Tech MORE, another former mayor of New York, tried that same late-comer strategy in 2008. How did that work out?

Had he started earlier, Bloomberg would have a strong case to make. But by jumping in now — just because he believes he’s better than anybody else running — he’d alienate both moderates and progressives and sour the entire populist, pro-middle class message of the Democratic primary. The last thing the Democratic Party needs is another Wall Street billionaire trying to buy the nomination.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”