What Bloomberg would do for Trump

25 January 2016 10:08 am

The big news is that former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown his hat into the race to be the next president of the United States. The New York Times reports that Bloomberg has told his people to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side. He says he is prepared to spend $1 billion of his personal fortune on it and has set a deadline for making a final decision in early March.

Bloomberg has next to no chance of winning, he has no campaign infrastructure in place. But that's not the point.

If Bloomberg were to run, it would throw the race wide open. Jeet Heer from New Republic says Bloomberg’s entering the race would almost certainly throw it to the Republicans. Trump or Cruz would get the hardcore GOP partisan vote, while well-to-do but social liberals would desert the Democrats for Bloomberg. While the former mayor is pro-business, his policies on social issues such as gun control and gay marriage, his stance on the environment and his failed campaign to ban oversized “Big Gulp” soft drinks in New York, are more closely aligned with Democrats.

“Bloomberg’s intent is clear: He’s considering running not because he has a viable program he wants to promote, but because he wants to exercise a veto over the already existing parties—especially a veto over whom the Democrats pick,’’ Heer writes.

Maybe that explains why Donald Trump says he would love to see Bloomberg run.

And it could definitely be a plus for Trump because it would split the Democrat vote.

“Whatever percentage he gets will be taken disproportionately from the Democratic nominee . . . Bloomberg could make the eventual Republican nominee, even Trump, competitive in places where he'd otherwise be shut out,” Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia politics expert told the Financial Times.

And that would change the race completely. Bloomberg could make Trump president. Watch this space.