TL, DR: The Technocrats’ Dream Candidate convened an in-depth exploratory survey of his chances, and he got the media to do it for nothing.
In his own words, at his own site, “The Risk I Will Not Take”:
… Over the last several months, many Americans have urged me to run for president as an independent, and some who don’t like the current candidates have said it is my patriotic duty to do so. I appreciate their appeals, and I have given the question serious consideration. The deadline to answer it is now, because of ballot access requirements…
But when I look at the data, it’s clear to me that if I entered the race, I could not win. I believe I could win a number of diverse states — but not enough to win the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win the presidency.
In a three-way race, it’s unlikely any candidate would win a majority of electoral votes, and then the power to choose the president would be taken out of the hands of the American people and thrown to Congress. The fact is, even if I were to receive the most popular votes and the most electoral votes, victory would be highly unlikely, because most members of Congress would vote for their party’s nominee. Party loyalists in Congress — not the American people or the Electoral College — would determine the next president.
As the race stands now, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience…
All else is commentary, as the saying goes.
Over the past many weeks, as Media Village Idiot excitement about Bloomberg could still jump in! waxed and waned, I’ve started and discarded many drafts of my argument against that happening. If you look at his background, Mike Bloomberg really is the anti-Trump: He grew up working class in a battered Boston suburb, got a BS in electrical engineering, and switched tracks to get his MBA at Harvard. As I interpret that, he’s a numbers-oriented guy who decided what he most wanted was to make a whole bunch of money, so he went where numbers guys with no family funds behind them can do that: Wall Street. He made a tidy sum doing equity trading & then systems development at Salomon Bros, and when Salomon was bought by a bigger corporation, he took his $10million severance package and put it to good (profitable) use. Like the proverbial sundry supplies and jeans manufacturers profiting off the Gold Rush, he saw that the best route to Golden Age Wall Street bull-market glory was not raw materials extraction but retail: In an era when vast fortunes could be made or lost by having the best information a few minutes ahead of competitors, he built a terminal-based information system that promised that brief early edge to its purchasers. It wasn’t glamourous — back room nerd-tinkering is arduous, and it doesn’t get you invited to society-page parties — but it did make him one of the genuinely richest people in the world.
Mr. Bloomberg, it would seem, doesn’t like untidy situations. In the process of amassing as much money as he and his descendants could profitably use, he became very much a New York City guy, and at the turn of the millennium NYC was undergoing one of its regular High Untidiness periods. It cost him $73million of his own dollars and a party switch to get elected the first time, but he enjoyed the job well enough — or considered his services important enough — that he was willing to risk, and pay for, skirting some legal edges to ensure he’d get not just re-elected but re-re-elected.
He’s probably, philosophically, (still) a Democrat, although he switched to the Republicans for his first election and declared himself “Independent” for his third. But above all else, he likes logical government — whether that’s ‘discouraging unhealthy behavior’ by hoi polloi (public intoxication, smoking, bad dietary choices), or discouraging impossible/unethical politicking (building walls, imposing religious laws, ‘tearing down Wall Street’). As he judges it (and goddess knows I agree with him on this point), the two top Republican candidates at this time are the most untidy possible choices; unlike a lot of rich guys who should know better, Bloomberg seems to be fully aware that “business” does better when there’s a Democrat in the Oval Office. More power to him, and I hope he continues his wise course by doing everything possible to ensure that this year’s Democratic nominee will take the oath of office next January.