On Monday, I was sitting in the cafeteria with a group of friends. And then, between bites of extremely mediocre Brussels sprouts and rice, I saw it: red, white, and blue letter flickering across the screen of one of the cafeteria TVs, spelling out "Mike Bloomberg 2020."
"No," I said, out loud. No one had said anything to prompt this reaction, so my friends looked at me, confused. I simply pointed out the TV, to which they all had similar reactions. This group of people, whose political leanings ranged from far-left to deeply conservative could all agree on one thing: literally no one wants Mike Bloomberg to run for president.
Which begs the question: who is he running for?
There's nothing particularly unique about Bloomberg as a candidate. A billionaire? You've got Tom Steyer. A mayor of New York City? We all saw what happened to Bill de Blasio. A moderate who is really, really concerned about Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Michael Bennet and Amy Klobuchar have it covered, thanks.
Michael Bloomberg is a completely unremarkable, cookie-cutter rich guy candidate. And in a historically diverse field that has multiple women and the first openly gay candidate as top contenders for the nomination, it's going to be fascinating to see who Bloomberg thinks his base is going to consist of. Polls conducted before Bloomberg officially announced his run showed him at 4 percent, with 25 percent of primary voters viewing him unfavorably. That's the highest unfavorable rating in the entire field. Who does he think is going to help him overcome that gap?
It's clear that Democratic voters aren't necessarily opposed to more moderate candidates — Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg's poll numbers speak to that. But what exactly does Bloomberg bring to the table that isn't already provided by the plethora of moderates already in the race? Is he anything more than a reaction to an increasingly diverse, progressive party? His candidacy feels more like a billionaire's way of expressing disapproval at Elizabeth Warren than a push for any kind of substantial change.
Bloomberg probably thinks he'll be able to energize the moderate wing of the party, somehow distract their attention from Biden and Buttigieg. He may think another New York billionaire is the perfect foil to Donald Trump. He may think there's enough hidden resentment towards the progressive candidates that he can set himself up as the reasonable middle ground candidate. But whatever Bloomberg thinks he's going to be able to do, it's undeniable that he has an upheld battle ahead of him.