From recent news reports, it appears that billionaire Michael Bloomberg will enter the Democratic race to challenge Donald Trump, apparently disappointed with the current candidates. Bloomberg, age 77, is not likely to catch on nationally, mainly because he's an East Coast liberal. If he's the nominee, America is likely to be governed by President Trump from 2021-24, even though impeachment is coming.
While a majority of voters seem disaffected by Trump, they seem unenthused about any of the potential opponents, including Bloomberg. Moneywise, President Trump is way ahead in campaign cash as Democrats each seek to break free of the pack. Elizabeth Warren has shown signs of doing so but is constrained by her liberal philosophy. She scares voters. It's likely a sign of her potential prominence that some of her opponents are openly critical of her vagueness.
America is not as liberal as the announced candidates, especially as many voters live in red districts. They'll likely vote for Trump and endorse his various policy positions, though they don't endorse his outspoken campaign style. President Dwight Eisenhower, a popular president with a strong military background, relied heavily on his cabinet officers and outside advisers in times of crisis. Trump instead seems to rely only on himself, though he hasn't been fully challenged by an international crisis yet. His recent tweet, stating that he has superior intellect and wisdom, is telling. Even if he feels that way, he shouldn't publicize it — the voting public generally doesn't like bragging in their public officials.
Former vice president and senator Joe Biden could emerge, but his age and the controversy over his son have taken a toll on him in recent weeks despite his strong poll numbers. Former President Jimmy Carter has publicly stated that no one should serve as president past age 80 — Bloomberg, Biden and Bernie Sanders would turn 80 if elected in 2020. Thirty-five percent of Democrats and 37 percent of independents and Republicans in a recent Gallup Poll said they wouldn't vote for a candidate for president who was over age 70.
Biden and his son Hunter are part of an undue influence issue. Many voters are troubled by Hunter's acceptance of a board seat for companies in Ukraine and China and being paid big money. Biden will be dogged by questions about this situation.
As for Warren, her recent campaign appearance in which she claimed to be a "capitalist" ruffled Sanders' feathers, as he claims to be a socialist. Gallup polling has recently found that 24 percent of Democrats, 48 percent of independents and 80 percent of Republicans would not vote for a socialist. Warren's positions on the issues are socialist in nature — $52 trillion for her Medicare plan — and they won't likely survive a Trump challenge.
As Bloomberg, or another candidate, reconsiders and enters the race, they stand a chance. Bloomberg has the money and the liberal bona fides to wage an extensive campaign, plus he's served in public life already. Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a qualified Republican with a history of restraint, could become a candidate if Trump doesn't run, but that's unlikely.
The remaining Democrats are struggling to remain relevant, and some could exit the race for lack of campaign money and national support. Democrats would be wise to trim their numbers. Look for Julian Castro, Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang and Cory Booker to leave the race soon. That would leave Bloomberg, Warren, Biden, Tulsi Gabbard, Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris to fight it out.
Buttigieg won't leave, though his positions on issues are similar to other Democrats on the stage. Biden won't leave, no matter that he's now 76, but he could vow to serve only one term, perhaps choosing a woman successor as his running mate.
The Democrats have a huge challenge ahead of them, but also a major opportunity. ♦
George Nethercutt represented the 5th District of Washington in Congress from 1995-2005.