What is Michael Bloomberg thinking?

4 March 2020

1:54 PM

4 March 2020

1:54 PM

There are lies, damned lies, and data in politics. Everyone presumed a man as well-resourced as Michael Bloomberg had run the numbers in order to give him the confidence to run for president. How then, can you explain this dismal showing tonight? At this early stage in the night, after spending $500 million of his own money, the only territory Bloomberg has secured is American Samoa.

Perhaps Bloomberg is guilty of asking the data the wrong questions. Did he ask ‘is there a way in which I’m a viable candidate for president?’ when he perhaps should have asked ‘I have $2 billion to spend beating Donald Trump: what’s the best way to spend it?’

Imagine a situation in which Bloomberg had played this like someone who just wanted to deny Bernie the nomination and wasn’t so married to the idea of being president himself. Even while running, couldn’t he have spread his bets and pushed Pete some money after Iowa or dished some out to Amy after New Hampshire?  Or what stopped him putting his thumb on the scales earlier and backing a candidate like Cory Booker? Surely people inside the Bloomberg camp are posing these questions, too.

Who wants to be a billionaire? Yet again it’s hard not to be astounded by a plutocrat’s lack of imagination. You’re the ninth richest man in the world and the best thing you can think of trying to buy is the presidency? Elon Musk might be a cannabis-crazed douchebag but at least he makes secret tunnels and flamethrowers like a real supervillain. What’s more, Bloomberg didn’t even follow the ‘how to run for president as a billionaire’ playbook that Trump laid out so well in 2016, which involves pointing out that you the candidate ‘don’t have to do this’ and you aren’t ‘beholden to corporate interests’. Mike Bloomberg somehow decided to embody corporate interests. Perhaps his close ties to China made it impossible for him to pose as anything else.

Hindsight is 20-20, but the DNC’s decision to adjust the debate thresholds to let Bloomberg in might have made Joe Biden president. As Michael (or ‘Miguel’ as they say in ‘Tejas’) reconsiders his status in the race tonight, he’s surely rueing the decision to cannibalize Bloomberg News for this woeful campaign. He may be coming third in Texas, Tennessee, and Arkansas. But is that what the best part of a billion dollars gets?

I pity the staffer whose job it is to write up the NDAs at Bloomberg HQ tonight in order to suppress the tale of these torrid results. At least they’re paid well.

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