If the polls are to be believed, Hillary Clinton bestrides the Democratic body-politic like a colossus in a pantsuit. Nevertheless, the revelations in Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash, pose a serious threat to her Presidential bid: they could weaken her candidacy to the point where she could face a credible primary challenger. Instead of coasting to the nomination, she would have to fight it out like she did in 2008 – which didn’t work out so well.
Fortunately for her, her current challengers are not that credible. Take the leader of the pack, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. An avowed socialist who is 73 but looks 83, President Sanders ain’t gonna happen. Even the good citizens of his home town, Burlington Vermont, must realize that Sanders’ quest is quixotic. Mayor of Burlington, yes; President of the United States, never.
The real danger for Hillary posed by Bernie Sanders is that he might play the role that Senator Eugene McCarthy played in deposing President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. While personally too left-wing to ever be elected President himself, McCarthy’s surprising success encouraged a credible challenger to jump into the race: Robert Kennedy. The question therefore becomes, who can play Robert Kennedy to Hillary’s LBJ?
On the face of it, the pickings are slim. The 2010 and 2014 mid-term elections decimated the Democrats at the state and local levels. There are also no obvious young up-and-comers in Congress either. (Cory Booker, I think you have gone as far as you can. Nobody is looking for another Barack Obama. His presidency poisoned that well for you.) So who could that person be?
Looking around, it occurred to me that it might be former three-time New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. As a former Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, we know that party loyalty isn’t exactly his cup of tea. And while he may be the same age as Sanders, Bloomberg looks 20 years younger than Bernie. Fundraising likely won’t be a challenge. He is one of the richest men in America and he doesn’t mind throwing money at his political ambitions. His entirely self-financed 2009 re-election campaign personally cost him over $100 million. His opponent was a local nobody. And while conservatives cringe at his whiney, sanctimonious manners and his ban-a-holic, nanny-state ways, I think he can credibly appeal to many independent voters as a reasonable, conservative moderate. Take crime. He took Rudy Giuliani’s enviable crime-fighting record, and drove the crime rate down even further. If you don’t think keeping a lid on crime is a challenge in the Big Apple, just ask current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Bloomberg also looks like a competent, corporate CEO-type, which contrasts well with the image of an aging, lefty crank or a hectoring, mother-in-law from hell. We also know his ambition hasn’t been sated yet. There was even some talk recently of him running for Mayor of London!
The biggest obstacle for Bloomberg in getting the nomination is that the progressive left, which increasingly dominates Democrat politics, probably likes him about as much as conservatives do. Fortunately for Bloomberg, he has enough money to go over their heads and appeal directly to the rank-and-file primary voters. He doesn’t need the progressives for volunteers or cash, so he can just ignore and bypass them.
Putting this all together, even though I personally can’t stand Michael Bloomberg, I think his candidacy would pose a bigger threat to the Republican nominee than any other Democrat out there, including the conflicted-to-the-hilt Hillary Clinton.