The big news in the political world today is that the curmudgeonly former mayor of New York City is seriously considering an independent presidential bid. While the news should be taken with a grain of salt—the Bloomberg trial balloon has virtually become a staple of recent presidential cycles—it does raise the question of whether there is anyone in the country outside Wall Street and Bloomberg’s inner circle who actually wants Bloomberg to run.
An unnamed adviser told the Times that Bloomberg is convinced voters desire “a nonideological, bipartisan, results-oriented vision” that has not been articulated by the candidates he most fears will win, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz on the right, and Bernie Sanders on the left. But is that what voters really want? There is strong evidence to show the opposite: that voters are coalescing into two highly ideological camps that are increasingly defined by their animosity toward the other side. The idea that what voters truly desire is a dispassionate technocrat—who happens to be a billionaire plutocrat to boot—is totally at odds with the reality of this frenzied election season in particular and of politics in the Obama era in general.
As Jeet Heer writes, Bloomberg’s only real constituency is the socially liberal well-to-do, which means his campaign would most likely hurt the Democratic candidate. Bloomberg would play spoiler, all because he is hearing the voices of some imaginary silent majority in his head.