President Bloomberg Puts Down Payment On Friendly First-Term Congress

Hizzoner hopes a few checks and balances will mean there will still be a country for him to run in three years.
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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Ambition makes people do some pretty distasteful things some times. For example, once upon a time, about 17 years ago, a billionaire thought he’d make a pretty good mayor. This billionaire was a life-long Democrat, however, and his city was full of Democrats. Elected Democrats. Democrats who also thought they’d make a pretty good mayor, or at the very least that they’d quite like to be mayor. As it happened, this very Democratic city had a Republican mayor at the time. But this Republican mayor was term-limited out of office, and his city didn’t have many Republicans to stand in his stead, and essentially no electable Republicans to succeed him. And so the billionaire offered himself—and his fortune—up, became a Republican, and was duly elected mayor.

Thing is, though, being a Republican didn’t really suit Mike Bloomberg. Certainly not a Republican Party led by then-President George W. Bush. But he still had to run for reelection as a Republican in 2005, and so held his nose and endorsed Bush in 2004. Once those unpleasantnesses were over—after all, he couldn’t run for a third term, right? Right?—he gave up the charade and started a new one: He was a political independent. He would not endorse anyone for president in 2008. And, why yes, he would run for a third term, and happily accept the Republican line, although he definitely wasn’t becoming a Republican again.

Since then, Bloomberg’s been coming back to his political roots. He endorsed President Obama for re-election in 2012 and, after grumpily flirting with an independent run for president in 2016, threw his backing behind Hillary Clinton with a rather rousing roasting of his old friend and fellow Manhattan billionaire, Donald Trump. And while his predecessor as mayor and political patron, Rudy Giuliani, does that president’s dirty work, Mike Bloomberg still doesn’t think much of the man. And maybe he thinks a 78-year-old socially liberal billionaire might be able to wrest the presidency from 74-year-old proto-Fascist billionaire. So while he’s not exactly becoming a Democrat again, he is putting a rather sizeable down payment on the possibility.

Mr. Bloomberg — a political independent who has championed left-of-center policies on gun control, immigration and the environment — has approved a plan to pour at least $80 million into the 2018 election, with the bulk of that money going to support Democratic congressional candidates, advisers to Mr. Bloomberg said….

Mr. Bloomberg’s intervention is likely to undermine that financial advantage by bankrolling advertising on television, online and in the mail for Democratic candidates in a dozen or more congressional districts, chiefly in moderate suburban areas where Mr. Trump is unpopular.

Michael Bloomberg Will Spend $80 Million on the Midterms: His Goal: Flip the House for the Democrats. [NYT]
Michael Bloomberg: Why I’m Supporting Democrats in 2018 [Bloomberg]

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