As if the presidential contests on both sides of the aisle are not unpredictable and turbulent enough, now Michael Bloomberg is said to be reconsidering a run for the White House as an independent. Like Trump, Bloomberg could largely self-fun his campaign and would offer a far more sane option than Donald Trump or Ted Cruz should they win the GOP nomination. Bloomberg's decision may hinge on whether or not Hillary Clinton reorder her campaign and look to be a sure victor over a Trump or Cruz candidacy. Were Bloomberg to run and win, the political calculus in Washington, D.C., would be definitely scrambled. The New York Times looks at Boomberg's rethinking of an independent run. Here are excerpts:
Michael R. Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has in the past contemplated running for the White House on a third-party ticket, but always concluded he could not win. A confluence of unlikely events in the 2016 election, however, has given new impetus to his presidential aspirations.Mr. Bloomberg, 73, has already taken concrete steps toward a possible campaign, and has indicated to friends and allies that he would be willing to spend at least $1 billion of his fortune on it, . . . He has set a deadline for making a final decision in early March, the latest point at which advisers believe Mr. Bloomberg could enter the race and still qualify to appear as an independent candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.His aides have sketched out a version of a campaign plan that would have the former mayor, a low-key and cerebral personality, give a series of detailed policy speeches backed by an intense television advertising campaign. The ads would introduce him to voters around the country as a technocratic problem-solver and self-made businessman who understands the economy and who built a bipartisan administration in New York.Mr. Bloomberg would face daunting and perhaps insurmountable obstacles in a presidential campaign: No independent candidate has ever been elected to the White House, and Mr. Bloomberg’s close Wall Street ties and liberal social views, including his strong support for abortion rights and gun control, could repel voters on the left and right.But his possible candidacy also underscores the volatility of a presidential race that could be thrown into further turmoil by a wild-card candidate like Mr. Bloomberg.If Republicans were to nominate Mr. Trump or Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a hard-line conservative, and Democrats chose Mr. Sanders, Mr. Bloomberg — who changed his party affiliation to independent in 2007 — has told allies he would be likely to run.“Mike Bloomberg for president rests on the not-impossible but somewhat unlikely circumstance of either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz versus Bernie Sanders,” said Mr. Rendell, a close ally of Mrs. Clinton’s who is also a friend of Mr. Bloomberg’s. “If Hillary wins the nomination, Hillary is mainstream enough that Mike would have no chance, and Mike’s not going to go on a suicide mission.”In a three-way race featuring Mr. Sanders and Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Rendell said he might back the former New York mayor.Setting a March deadline for making a decision allows Mr. Bloomberg to see how Mrs. Clinton and the more mainstream Republican candidates fare in the early primaries. And because of his vast wealth, there is no downside in laying the groundwork for a possible campaign, even if he ultimately decides against it.Even a victory by Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primaries might not preclude a bid by Mr. Bloomberg, his associates said, if he believed she had been gravely weakened by the contest.
The next ten months will be most interesting.