To some political observers, the late entry into the presidential race by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a mystery.
While the current candidates and the media are wondering why Mr. Bloomberg made his late plunge into the race, maybe his motives are not that hard to understand.
Up to a few weeks ago it appeared that the primary process was being dominated by far-left candidates such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Their multiple plans to give away taxpayer money for every imaginable cause had to rankle a man who feels strongly that only a centrist can win and who knows what it costs to run a big city.
By entering the race, Bloomberg wanted to reinforce his belief that “Medicare for All” and other expensive programs, were losing causes and it was time to bring the debate back to the center. Whether it is because of him or just fate, the poll numbers for Mrs. Warren are starting to drop and Mayor Pete Buttigieg is enjoying a short-term surge in support.
When you are sitting with over $30 million in your war chest, even a former small-city mayor can rise in the polls in any one state.
Buttigieg has decided to make his big bet in Iowa and to back it up he has opened many storefront locations. He has a massive number of canvassers going door-to-door and for now, has drowned out his competitors.
At the same time as he is blanketing Iowa, Buttigieg is upping his game in New Hampshire, where Vice President Biden enjoys a slim lead. The picture will change after New Hampshire, as Nevada and South Carolina lean towards the Vice President.
The real impact of the Bloomberg candidacy will be how he spends his money.
Others like Tom Steyer are spending with no results. The first Bloomberg millions will go towards promoting his biography and win over skeptics. His next investments will be aimed at tearing down Donald Trump to make sure that he cannot get re-elected.
There are numerous issues that can be used to undermine Trump and Bloomberg has the resources to remind the public of all the ways that Trump has trampled on the Constitution and undermined women and minorities.
Once the impeachment debate is over, the Democratic challengers, joined by Bloomberg, will be able to focus on such issues as climate change, gun control, health care and other pocketbook challenges that resonate with the public.
The president will try to focus on the economy and hope that is his winning card. But Bloomberg money could deflate that argument with big media buys, at the same time that he is supporting Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate.
Could Michael Bloomberg become the Democratic Party frontrunner? If you say no, you could be making a bad call.
The vast majority of the enrolled Democrats and independents are anxious to win next November, and it is too early to figure out where their votes will ultimately go.
Plus, many things could happen that overnight could put Trump in serious hot water. There are five cases working their way up to the Supreme Court, that could turn the Trump campaign upside down.
Before June the high court will have decided on the legality of the Affordable Care Act that insures 20 million people. Next comes the Louisiana abortion law that dramatically restricts a woman’s right to choose. The fate of the 800,000 Dreamers is next in line for consideration.
Then along comes the battle to get Trump’s tax returns and his claims of executive privilege. Any one of these could change the direction of the president’s efforts to win another term, despite his claims about the economy.
Even with a cold public welcome to the campaign, Bloomberg didn’t make his fortune without dramatic ideas, and his talents could take him a lot farther up the ladder in an unpredictable campaign year.