Is Bloomberg ready to take the heat?

Herb Boyd | 2/20/2020, 5:21 p.m.
For months billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, has been a troubling specter on the horizon; on ...
Michael R. Bloomberg (Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo)

For months billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, has been a troubling specter on the horizon; on Wednesday evening in Las Vegas he will make his debut on the debate stage.

Bloomberg’s arrival and appearance will probably be a target of his adversaries, and how he will respond to the assaults will forecast his outcome. Already a couple of major polls show him at the top or near it, and his success in one of four, where he achieved the required 10%, made him eligible for his first debate, after some amendments by the DNC.

During a recent rally, Sen. Bernie Sanders told his throng of supporters that anybody with $60 billion can run for president, and “you know, Mr. Bloomberg has every right in the world to run for president of the United States. He’s an American citizen. But [I] don’t think he has the right to buy this election.”

That charge was echoed by the other candidates with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg saying that Bloomberg is “a billionaire who thinks that you can just…buy your way on to television and win that way.” Bloomberg’s entry seems most problematic for Mayor Pete and the other moderates, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who compared him to Trump as an “egomaniac billionaire.”

And Bloomberg is probably getting his rap together when he is assailed with the baggage of public policies, none more egregious than stop-and-frisk, from the other contenders.

Bloomberg has spent more than $400 million in his ad campaign and possesses a bottomless trove of cash whereas his opponents, particularly Joe Biden, are having difficulty raising funds and getting their quests back on track. Bloomberg, for the most part, remains untested and wasn’t on the ballot in Iowa or New Hampshire, nor is he slated to appear on the ballot in Nevada for the caucuses or later in South Carolina. He seems to be putting his ride on Super Tuesday when more than 11 states have their primaries on March 3.

By then there should be a better indication where Bloomberg and the other candidates are as they jockey for positions and pursue the important collection of delegates. At the moment with Nevada slated for Saturday, it’s much too early to speculate on the tally of delegates, though it should be noted that Bloomberg has none.

To be sure, he has no delegates but he does have deep, deep pockets, is showing a dramatic increase in the polls, and must be thrilled that a number of notable African Americans are jumping on his bandwagon.

It’s to be seen if he can take the expected heat from the others on the stage Wednesday evening and that would be an indicator of how he would fare if he succeeds in this preliminary run for the White House in his stand against the occupant.