Democrats woke up Friday morning with a development that pretty much nobody asked for: Michael Bloomberg’s apparent entry into the presidential race. Because evidently we don’t have enough billionaires in our politics. And the Democratic field is too small.
But this isn’t really about Bloomberg: It’s fallout from the Warren Panic.
There is probably a more delicate way to put this, but let’s not bother: It is dawning on quite a lot of folks that the Democratic front-runner has very low odds of beating Donald Trump. Ignore the national polls. Trump is unpopular enough that he seems destined to lost the popular vote in 2020 no matter who he faces.
Instead, focus on the most recent surveys of the swing states—the states that will determine who wins the Electoral College.
Most swing voters in these states see bans on fracking, stopping detainments at the U.S. border, and Medicare-for-all as bad ideas. The poll also consistently finds that while Medicare-for-all has played a significant role in the 2020 Democratic primary debates, it is not the top health care issue for Democratic voters. Large shares of swing voters in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin say stopping detainments at the U.S. border for people cross into the country illegally and a national Medicare-for-all plan are “bad ideas.” Swing voters are slightly more divided in their views of a ban on fracking with large shares of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin swing voters saying such a ban is a “bad idea” as do a slim majority in Michigan and half of Minnesota swing voters.
Here are the numbers: Those swing state voters oppose Medicare for All by a margin of 36 percent to 62 percent. They oppose a ban on fracking 40 percent to 54 percent. And they reject decriminalizing illegal border crossings by 27 percent to 71 percent.
Look at those numbers again and realize that Elizabeth Warren advocates for every one of those positions.
The implications seem relatively clear, especially as folks begin to absorb the full scope of all of Warren’s “plans” for spending, healthcare, and the economy.
So moderate Democrats will turn their lonely eyes to . . . the billionaire former Republican mayor of New York City?
Here’s the thing: Bloomberg’s entry into the race makes no sense because it accomplishes nothing. Absolutely nothing.
In fact, it’s worse than useless, because it will on exacerbate the problems Bloomberg says he wants to solve.
Let us briefly count the pointless of it all:
- Bloomberg is a very long shot to win, but he will absolutely drain votes from the other centrist candidates, cannibalizing support for Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobucher.
- This will be of immeasurable help to Bernie and Warren, the candidates Bloomberg seems to be concerned about.
- The entry of another billionaire is exactly the wrong optics in a cycle where Democrats are focused on income inequality and the unfair distribution of wealth.
- Making a billionaire the face of moderate Democratic politics will also be a huge boon to Bernie and Warren.
- Bloomberg’s money could actually be an enormous help in defeating Trump—but not if he spends it fighting Democrats in a primary.
On this last point, here’s Rick Wilson:
1/ If you want to point a finger at two men with absolute certainty of guilt when Trump gets re-elected by Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.
I can't explain to you even a tenth of their resources would do to alter the battlefield in this campaign.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) November 7, 2019
But, no, we seem destined to get another vanity campaign that will distract attention, drain resources, and accomplish nothing.
Donald Trump is heading toward being impeached with an approval rating now hovering around 40 percent one year from Election Day. He trails Joe Biden—who is still his most likely opponent—by 15 points nationally and in every important swing state. The Republican party was beaten at the ballot box, again, just three days ago.
It has been a very, very, very bad couple of months for the president. Mike Bloomberg’s flirtation with a primary run is the first news in a long time to give him reason to smile.