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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 BloombergBiden selects Gina Raimondo for Commerce chief: reports 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics NFL, politics dominate 2020 ratings 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 TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media 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.

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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 BidenMissouri woman seen with Pelosi sign charged in connection with Capitol riots Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP MORE by 17 points; Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPorter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters DeVos mulled unilateral student loan forgiveness as COVID-19 wracked economy: memo MORE (D-Mass.) by 15; Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Biden to seek minimum wage in COVID-19 proposal MORE (I-Vt.) by 14; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegOn The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits Buttigieg confirmation hearing slated for Thursday James Murdoch predicts 'a reckoning' for media after Capitol riot MORE by 11; and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris to be sworn in by Justice Sotomayor using Thurgood Marshall's Bible In calling out Trump, Nikki Haley warns of a more sinister threat On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits 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 KlobucharGoogle completes Fitbit acquisition Hillicon Valley: Fringe social networks boosted after Capitol attack | Planned protests spark fears of violence in Trump's final days | Election security efforts likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress US Chamber of Commerce to stop supporting some lawmakers following the Capitol riots MORE (Minn.), Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetTop Democrat pushes for tying unemployment insurance to economic conditions 50-50 Senate opens the door to solutions outlasting Trump's moment of violence Build trust in vaccines by investing in community workers MORE (Colo.) and Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockBiden's identity politics do a disservice to his nominees Senate Democrat: Party's message to rural voters is 'really flawed' Ducey to lead Republican governors MORE. 

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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 GiulianiWhat our kids should know after the Capitol Hill riot  How to stop Trump's secret pardons Trump tells aides not to pay Giuliani's legal fees: report 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.”