Former New York City Mayor and Michael Bloomberg has already cast a vote in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary: None of the Above.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg backed away from a presidential run after clashing with left-wing Democrats. He said that while he could defeat President Donald Trump, he had doubts about the primary: “I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field,” he wrote.
At the time, Bloomberg went further, arguing that “until 2021, and possibly longer, our only real hope for progress lies outside of Washington.” He pledged to continue to devote himself to cherished causes, such as gun control and climate change (which he has pursued by literally paying the salaries of state prosecutors around the country). The mayor who tried to ban large sodas and claims China’s Xi Jinping is “not a dictator” was bearish about his chances.
Left unsaid at the time was the fact that former Vice President Joe Biden had entered the race, making it harder for Bloomberg and other so-called “moderates” to join. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who had also toyed with an independent run for president, likewise deferred and then declined to run.
Biden, though nearing 80, was the heir apparent to Obama’s donors, if not his endorsement. The party establishment realized it had to stay united to win.
But then Biden began to falter — first in the debates, where he was embarrassed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for his collegiality with former segregationists, and then in the polls.
While still nominally the nationwide frontrunner , Biden has lost ground to Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). In a recent Iowa poll, Biden was in fourth place — even losing to South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has surged to second there.
Moreover, Biden has also lost the battle for the soul of the party. Radical socialist policies have become the default among Democrat activists. Both Warren and Sanders back “Medicare for All,” a government takeover of health care that would cost $52 trillion under Warren’s plan. She denies that her plan would impose new taxes on middle class families, but Sanders, whose plan has been costed at a mere $32 trillion, openly and proudly admits that it would.
In January, when “Medicare for All” moved to the fore — thanks in part to the efforts of newly-elected “democratic socialist” Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — Bloomberg told New Hampshire voters frankly: “You could never afford that, you’re talking about trillions of dollars.” He also embraced a version of Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” — but one that he said would be “achievable,” in contrast to her plan to kill the fossil fuel industry.
Bloomberg was incredulous at Democrats’ other policies. He blasted Warren’s “wealth tax” on billionaires such as himself: “If you want to look at a system that’s non-capitalistic, just take a look at what was perhaps the wealthiest country in the world, and today, people are starving to death — it’s called Venezuela,” he said. And: “I’m a little bit tired of listening to things that are pie in the sky, that we never are going to pass or never are going to afford.”
It was Joe Biden’s job to stop all of that, and appeal to Democrats in the “battleground states” who prefer a moderate candidate. But he failed, and none of the other candidates seem to be electable.
That is why Democrats have chosen impeachment: they do not believe their candidates can win.
And it is why Bloomberg is thinking of jumping in — in Alabama, of all places. He like much of America, is voting “no confidence” in the Democratic presidential field.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.