I know that Betty posted something about Bloomberg below, but I had this written up already, and it’s from a different angle, so consider it an open thread:
Either you examine the skin of the elephant in the room, or you ignore it. Let’s take a look at two things about Bloomberg:
First thing: Bloomberg says he’s going to sell his company if elected. The proceeds will go to his charity. Better than Trump, but Bloomberg has different goals than Trump. Trump is a not-really billionaire who wants to make money directly from the Presidency. Bloomberg is a real-deal billionaire who wants to advance his agenda and keep people from saying mean things about him. He’s already shown that his big contributions will keep nonprofits in line. His charity will do the dirty work for him if he’s elected, and that would be ugly.
Second thing: With Sanders now holding down a pretty good lead in the national polls (9+ points), surging in Nevada, showing momentum in South Carolina, and looking like a lock in California, everyone on that stage except for Bernie and Bloomberg have a very difficult mission: hit Bloomberg and hit Sanders. They need to show that Bloomberg is weaker than his ads, and that Sanders has serious issues that make him a bad choice as a general election candidate.
When you have six debaters, five moderators (including Lester Holt and Chuck Toddler, bleagh), and two hours, things are going to be bad for the back of the pack. The moderators will probably lavish the new hotness, Bloomberg, with attention and softball questions. Warren might get to say her name, once, and Klobuchar might get out a sentence if she interrupts someone.
Bloomberg and Sanders are the only candidates that are free to do much tonight. Sanders has that freedom because he’s ahead. Bloomberg has that freedom because of his money — he doesn’t have to worry that donors will drop off if he screws the pooch tonight. If Bernie and Mike are smart, and neither of them are dummies, they’ll both pivot from attacks on them to attacks on Trump. They will look like general election candidates, and feed the base the red meat that they really want: meat that’s topped with a MAGA hat.
This is what’s going to hurt the other candidates: they must attack to distinguish themselves and bat down the front-runner and the media darling. But in doing so, they aren’t going to show how they can beat Trump.
That’s a long way of saying the second thing about Bloomberg, so let me restate: he fucks up the debates because this would be the natural time for a Bernie-alternative to stand out in a debate performance. But his presence prohibits that from happening, unless he’s to be that alternative. I think Warren could fit that spot, but good luck to her making that happen in tonight’s shit show.
Another factor is that if I’m Amy Klobuchar, I have to at least considered the position of VP to Bloomberg. She seems to me to be the obvious choice: Midwesterner, female, young and healthy, tough as nails. I have too much respect for Klobuchar to think she would pull punches, but I also have too much respect to think that she’s not considered and even planned for the possibility of VP Amy.