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 Rubens BloombergHarris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Clinton still 'disappointed' Sanders held off on endorsing her in 2016 Booker notes 'anger' over more billionaires than black candidates in 2020 race 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 TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report 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 BidenGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Trump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans MORE by 17 points; Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary LGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (D-Mass.) by 15; Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary Sanders to join youth climate strikers in Iowa Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (I-Vt.) by 14; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary LGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Poll: 2020 general election remains wide open MORE by 11; and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work 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 Jean KlobucharKrystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates Teamsters to host presidential forum with six 2020 Democrats Democrats hit gas on impeachment MORE (Minn.), Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSenators urge FERC to protect critical infrastructure from Huawei threats Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates Democrats hit gas on impeachment MORE (Colo.) and Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockKrystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates Trump on Harris dropping out of race: 'We will miss you Kamala!' Kamala Harris drops out of presidential race 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 GiulianiPoll: 46 percent of voters say Trump's Ukraine dealings constitute impeachable offense GOP member urges Graham to subpoena Schiff, Biden phone records Giuliani meets with fired Ukrainian prosecutor who pushed Biden, 2016 claims: 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.”