The Drudge Report set off a firestorm on Saturday with a story headlined: “EXCLUSIVE: BLOOMBERG CONSIDERS HILLARY RUNNING MATE.” The story reported that “[s]ources close to Bloomberg campaign tell DRUDGE REPORT that candidate is considering Hillary as running mate, after their polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force….” After a frenzy, the Bloomberg campaign weakly downplayed the story while notably not denying it. The story follows reports of various Clinton allies discussing a way for her to take the nomination in a brokered convention in a panic-driven move to block Bernie Sanders, again, from securing the nomination.
I am not a never-Bloomberg person. I believe that he has had great success in both politics and business with proven leadership and insights. I have also on occasion been critical, particularly over his signature law banning “big gulp” and sugary soft drinks. At the time, I said that I thought it would be struck down and it was. The law has remained a source of mockery.
This story however raises the possibility of the ultimate “Big Gulp” nominee. On one level, this is not surprising. The Democratic establishment remains inundated with Clinton allies who still do not understand why so many voters rejected their chosen candidate in 2016. Even when polls showed that voters wanted someone outside of the establishment, the party elite rigged the primary to guarantee the nomination of the ultimate establishment figure. While popular with some in the Democratic base, polls showed that she rivaled Trump as one of the most unpopular figures even to run for the presidency. Without that baggage, Sanders would have beaten Trump as would have a number of other candidates.
Nevertheless, the short-term calculus for Bloomberg may be irresistible. In opposing Sanders, he has a natural ally in Clinton who hates Sanders and blames him for her loss in 2016. He could claim that the combination would represent a unity ticket of reconciliation and consensus. More importantly, with Sanders surging, Democratic leaders are planning a convention takeover of the nomination. Bloomberg could have the next largest delegate count. If he added Clinton as a running mate, he could secure the nomination and many believe Trump would have the greatest difficulty with Bloomberg as an opponent.
The problem is that Bloomberg is already driving away young voters who support Sanders and view him as buying the nomination. He would add one of the most polarizing figures of our times and, again, the ultimate establishment figure. So Sanders would be blocked in favor a ticket with a running mate who both Sanders and Trump voters despise. That requires a Big Gulp in an election which could well turn on just a couple states.
I admit to being a longtime critic of the Clintons, who I believe undermined the Democratic Party, crushed any dissenting voices, and corrupted its long-standing principles. This move would secure a nomination at the possible cost of the election — as was the case in 2016. New York added a warning on soft drinks a few years ago reading “SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.” This plan should have a similar “ELECTION WARNING: Nominating Clinton contributes to division, distraction, and voter decay.”