Sunday, September 27, 2015

Time for Bloomberg?

A look at the current Republican presidential polling shows more than half of voters' support going to political "outsiders" Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. Clearly, at least within the GOP, voters are fed up with career politicians and the status quo. So is the landscape finally fertile enough for former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg? 

Bloomberg is Trump without the crazy. Without the pomp and petulance. Without the ad hominem attacks and the inflammatory, race-baiting rhetoric. Without the catty teenage girl-like incessant Tweeting. No walls, no Mexican rapists, no birthing. Just a smart, savvy, mega-rich chief executive (in business and politics) who can appeal to the "no bullshit, owes no one, he's his own man" crowd who's heretofore fallen in lust with Trump and his "message." Is 2016 America ready for a self-funded independent candidate with class, credentials and credibility? An outsider who could actually win? If you're Bloomberg you must be asking these same questions.

Unlike Trump, Bloomberg actually has a brain when it comes to politics and policy. He's an intellectual. A substantive thinker who's been on the populist side of a variety of national-interest issues such as the environment, illegal immigration, gun control, stem-cell research, intelligent design and gay marriage. And while Trump's bombast and bragodiccio has captured the over-excited loins of GOP extremists, Bloomberg could, more importantly, capture the hearts and votes of a much broader coalition within the party's disillusioned and disenchanted. Oh sure, Trump's the fun party girl. But Bloomberg's the one they could bring home to mama. 

With voters' anger and frustration with Washington never greater, and with Hillary Clinton's campaign awash in distrust, disappointment and 'truthiness,' the time has never been better for a socially moderate, fiscally conservative 3rd party candidate to capture the disenfranchised on both sides. However, such independent candidates have never fared well in American politics.

But Bloomberg could say, "I've been a Democrat, a Republican, and can give you the best of both parties and the fresh perspective of a Washington outsider--a successful chief executive, who's not beholden to any special interests." He could run on a bi-partisan platform that promises to bring the nation together after decades of gridlock and toxicity. Perhaps we're finally at that moment in American politics where this unique message could resonate with a majority of voters and change history.

Unlike the empty suit that is Donald Trump, Bloomberg has impeccable credentials from which he could mount a potent campaign. After twelve years as mayor he left NYC with a $2.5-billion budget surplus; a declining crime rate; an overhauled public education system with rising test scores; cleaner streets and environment; more efficient public transportation; and booming tourism. He's also responsible for the 311 info line; CitiBikes; public plazas; and the High Line park. And if you consider his smoking and trans fat bans, as well as required calorie counts, the city's a much healthier place.

And when it comes to business, he's the real deal. A self-made, no-help-from-daddy visionary who's amassed a $40-billion fortune, making him America's 10th richest individual and the 13th in the world. He's no self-serving, carnival barking, megalomaniacal media whore whose businesses have filed for bankruptcy four times. Bloomberg is Goliath to Trump's Lilliputian.

President Bloomberg? The sound of that could be extremely appealing to many on both sides of the aisle.

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