Why has another moderate Democrat joined the race? Simple math.
The current field of Democratic contenders for the office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue improbably grew by one notable entrant this week. Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and his billions, are entering the race.
With the choices currently available to Democratic voters hoping to take out Donald Trump in 2020, provided House Democrats fail to oust him first, that Bloomberg has identified an opportunity is no surprise.
No surprise, that is, to Democrats who have been eyeing askance the relatively weak performance of the moderate front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, for some time now. They have been asking “Isn’t there anyone else?” too often for the comfort of Democratic leadership.
Biden’s slipping grip as the front-runner, together with the corresponding rise of the Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaign, has left the Democratic field in disarray.
As Warren’s very-left platform is sure to alienate many key voter demographics Democrats need to win, Democrats are perhaps right to panic.
Many large Democratic donors have expressed unwillingness to support Warren, and it is no surprise that Democratic billionaires aren’t a fan of her offering their money to not even close to pay for Medicaid for Everyone.
Warren’s untenability aside, each of the other candidates has unique challenges that put them at a disadvantage in the race against Donald Trump, should they make it that far.
The Sen. Kamala Harris campaign seems to be on life support and fading fast; Sen. Cory Booker never quite connected with voters or achieved his breakout moment. Harris’ reputation as a tough on crime prosecutor likely hurt her chances, and the Booker campaign has been floundering since the beginning.
The pragmatic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, while an excellent candidate on her own merits, lacks the socialist zeal the top tier candidates have embraced.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the other hand, all jokes about her disingenuous claims to Native American heritage aside, will be far too easily painted by Trump as a socialist who wants to take away everyone’s private health care and replace it with poorly run government programs amounting to little more than Medicare for No One.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has similar strikes against him; in all the places Democrats most need to win in 2020, that is the battleground states, the litany of promises made by Democratic Socialists do not hold water.
Free healthcare for undocumented immigrants, free college for everyone, the Green New Deal, open borders, and gun confiscation; these are not the issues that won Democrat’s key victories in 2018 and 2019.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been elbowing in on the moderate territory so recently conceded by Joe Biden. His stage presence, personable speaking style, and genuine connection with voters are to his advantage. The fact that Buttigieg is openly gay also gives him something of an advantage in a party eager to advance long-marginalized groups.
But Warren, Buttigieg, and Sanders have another big electability problem as well. A white problem.
During one of Warren’s recent campaign stumps, she railed most eloquently against racial injustice in America…to a crowd that was 80% white. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently held court in Queens, where his largely white crowd was particularly remarkable.
Buttigieg too, has had difficulty courting the minority vote. The majority of Latino and African-American Democrats tend to be less liberal than their white counterparts. And in addition to being another white man, Buttigieg is gay, which is less of an asset in winning support of older, more conservative, members of the African-American and Latino communities.
The main strength of the Biden campaign was and remains his popularity among African-American voters. The popularity of former President Barack Obama, and Biden by association with him, with Black voters cannot be overstated.
Bloomberg, while he doesn’t have Joe Biden’s money problems, is unlikely to appeal to minority voters any more than Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders.
It is possible that Michael Bloomberg, savvy businessman that he is, does not really think he can win the nomination, nor does he even intend to waste his money trying.
His entrance in the race seems to be in direct correlation with the rise in the Warren campaign. By entering the race, or seeming to do so, Bloomberg is sending a very clear message to the Democratic Party powers that be:
“I am willing to spend billions to stop Elizabeth Warren from becoming President…if I have to.”
Democratic strategists, office holders former and present are begging their colleagues running for President to please stop with the pie-in-the-sky promises that very few people actually believe U.S. government bureaucrats capable of delivering.
Bloomberg’s entrance in the race, and rumors of other late-entrants being floated like Hillary Clinton, and former Attorney General Eric Holder, proves that the Democratic establishment is at least listening.
Whether the DNC can respond, before it's too late, is anyone’s guess.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)