By Providence Journal
One of the more interesting developments in the 2020 presidential race is the belated entry of 77-year-old billionaire Michael Bloomberg into the Democratic primary.
His perception of the weakness of the Democratic field drove the businessman and former New York mayor to reluctantly join the fight.
“Right now Donald Trump is winning, he is winning that election. It’s very tough for people who don’t live in New York or California to understand that, but that is what’s happening,” campaign manager Kevin Sheekey told CNN.
Just last March, Mr. Bloomberg ruled out a run.
“At some point you’ve got to say, look, I would be 79 years old when I took office. People say, ‘Well, Ronald Reagan was 80 when he left.’ Yeah, when he was 80 they carried him out ga-ga,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
“To start a four-year job - maybe an eight-year job - at age 79 may not be the smartest thing to do,” he said, adding that he “couldn’t see a path” to winning the party’s nomination.
The dire threat of a second term for Mr. Trump - who will be 74 in January 2021 - has evidently led Mr. Bloomberg to rethink that opinion.
“We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions,” he stated on Sunday. “He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.”
Among his big fans is Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, who admires his “centrist” approach to governing, working both sides of the aisle. In 2010, she called him her “political idol.”
Democrats have to take some care next year to choose a nominee who could appeal to swing voters. Former President Barack Obama recently warned the Democratic candidates not to go too far left. Certainly, Mr. Bloomberg would seem to be more moderate than self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, whose “Medicare for All” and wealth-tax plans have come under heavy criticism as impractical.
Those who hope to see him prevail note that, on the scale of billionaires, Mr. Bloomberg was much more successful than Mr. Trump, with a net worth estimated at $53 billion to the president’s comparatively paltry $3.1 billion. The former mayor plans to use his money for an onslaught of political ads.
But in some party circles, his success could be a drawback. Mr. Sanders, who has been blasting billionaires throughout his campaign, this week excoriated Mr. Bloomberg’s “arrogance” in thinking he could win because of his money.
Others believe the billionaire’s strategy of ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire to focus on bigger-delegate states is fraught with peril. Another New York mayor bombed with a similar approach in 2008: Republican Rudy Giuliani.
The New York Post, meanwhile, excoriated Mr. Bloomberg’s company, Bloomberg News, for announcing it would back off from doing investigative reporting on Democrats, as well as Mr. Bloomberg, to be fair to his competitors - though it would keep on investigating Mr. Trump. “What’s the new slogan - fair but unbalanced? Democracy thrives on bias?” the Post asked.
Whatever happens, we hope Mr. Bloomberg’s entry in the race will strengthen the Democratic Party so that its nominee is better able to take on President Trump next November.