Regardless of the reporting, polling, betting, etc. on the debate last night (and I missed about an hour of it), I think Bloomberg is the Democrats’ only hope to beat Trump, at least among candidates presently in the race.
Bloomberg spoke and carried himself like the guy who became a billionaire by starting and running a successful Fortune 500 business. He sounded like a leader. Everyone else on the stage came off as someone who might work in a cubicle in Bloomberg’s company.
As bad a candidate as she was, Hillary Clinton came off 100X more presidential than anyone on the stage last night, including Bloomberg. The president job has a suit and Hillary fit the (pant)suit. The only one in her league in that respect right now is Bloomberg.
Elizabeth Warren – She was shaking and breathless, as if in some sort of distress, every time she got a chance to speak. I’ve always maintained her optics would doom her in debates with Trump. I think the average swing voter, who doesn’t know or care about policy and makes his/her decision on personality, will decline to make her president.
Bernie Sanders – He’s too cartoonish. He’s impossible to picture off his socialist soap box and behind a desk running a large organization. He gets rattled and starts yelling whenever attacked. Trump will have him beside himself, even when Trump’s dead wrong on whatever they’re debating.
Pete Buttigieg – He’s composed, well-spoken and thoroughly prepared by the many behind-the-scenes Deep State actors who have taken an interest in him. But he looks too much like Howdy Doody to win, in my opinion and his policy positions will be too bland in an environment where both sides want what they believe is radical change (even if it really isn’t).
Joe Biden – He wasn’t terrible and that’s about the best you can say. Like the others, he comes off as nervous and perhaps because of his advancing years he slurs or gets tongue tied often when rattled. Joe’s never been a heavy hitter intellectually – he finished 79th out of 85 in his law school graduating class – and he’s been gaffe-prone his entire political life. He didn’t commit any catastrophic errors last night, but he has often and will continue to do so. He was punching above his weight as VP. He doesn’t fit the suit.
Amy Klobuchar – the quintessential cubicle persona. I was in the corporate world for 25 years before becoming a one man show. Klobuchar comes off as a competent, prepared, intelligent worker bee. I can see her showing up in the conference room in the old days with a pile of file folders in her arms, knowing every detail in each one of them. I can see her contributing to the meeting meaningfully and being the most informed person in the room. Then she marches back to her cubicle frustrated because so many people in the meeting don’t know what they’re doing, in her opinion. That’s Amy Klobuchar – I’ve met her a thousand times.
I realize, of course, that Trump came off in no way “presidential” in the traditional sense of the word, but he has a confident presence that nobody on the stage last night had except Bloomberg. When the other candidates were attacked, they whined. When Bloomberg was attacked, he had that vague contempt for his attackers on his face and in his voice that says, “Allow me to dispense with this idiot’s lunatic ravings and get on to something serious.” Trump had that, too. None of the other candidates do.
Let’s face it. The average voter more than anything is looking to be led, or at least have someone in the Oval Office who gives them the feeling they’re being led, as silly as that might be to us libertarians. Hillary had it. Trump had it. Bloomberg has it. Tulsi Gabbard has it, but she’s nullified by her sensible foreign policy. None of the other four on stage last night has it.
Now, will Bloomberg’s baggage, including the NDA issue or the more damaging (and rightly so) “stop and frisk” policy from his days as Mayor of New York City prevent him from getting the nomination? Perhaps. You need the base to win the nomination and the base might reject him over that history. But in the general election, you need the base and swing voters. The former would vote for Bloomberg against Trump in the general election regardless of his baggage. The latter is far more likely to vote for Bloomberg in the general than for any of the other four candidates on stage last night.
If the Democrats want to win, they’d be best served by nominating Bloomberg (barring a new, better candidate entering the race). Ironically that would pit two white, septuagenarian billionaires against each other in an election that is supposedly about capitalism vs. socialism, multiculturalism vs. traditional Western culture, and “the elites” vs. Main Street. But who said politics is logical?
Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.