As we continue to grind through the 2016 presidential campaign, some folks are starting to float former Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York as a potential candidate.
With the chatter heating up, a source familiar with the Bloomberg presidential thinking reached out to offer some perspective on the thinking of the Bloomberg team.
It’s a long shot, but Bloomberg could run for president if he sees a highly flawed field of candidates emerge.
If, for instance, bombastic billionaire Donald Trump looks set to take the Republican nomination, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is primed to win the Democratic nomination, then Bloomberg will run. He will try to carve out a path up the middle, while Trump tacks hard right and Sanders tacks hard left.
Bloomberg would run as an independent. To do so, he has to decide by March 1 to get on most states’ ballots.
He would also consider running if the other candidates who emerged – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Democrats, whoever for Republicans – seemed highly flawed and beatable, according to our source, who is plugged in and has spoken with people familiar with the matter.
Trump still seems unlikely to win the nomination, but he has managed to hang on to his lead in the polls for much longer than anybody expected. The professional pundit class keeps calling for him to fade, and he has continued to stay on top.
Clinton rebounded nicely in the Democratic presidential debate, and her poll numbers have jumped over the past week. But she still faces intense scrutiny over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
One of Bloomberg’s friends told Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times that there was a 5% of chance of Bloomberg running. Sorkin’s Tuesday column focuses on people on Wall Street pushing Bloomberg to run.
At the same time, Sorkin reports that Bloomberg is telling friends it’s “not going to happen.” And the Financial Times just last week reported that Bloomberg said of people asking him to run: “No f—ing way.”
Our source says Bloomberg is intentionally tamping down any speculation about a run. The idea is that if he does enter, it will be at the start of 2016, and the press will be tired of covering the campaigns. Bloomberg will emerge and ride a wave of excitement early in his run. If he has been dithering back and forth, the thinking goes, the press will just be annoyed with Bloomberg. (Look at what’s happening with Vice President Joe Biden right now.)
This all seems mostly like fantasy. Bloomberg is a realist. He won’t waste his time, or money, running if he can’t win. And unless things really go off the rails, he’s not going to run.