Over the past several months, Michael R. Bloomberg has fielded the same phone call over and over again from his Wall Street friends: Why don’t you run for president?
Bill Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund investor who has historically supported Democratic candidates, buttonholed Mr. Bloomberg at a dinner party several weeks ago at Mr. Bloomberg’s Upper East Side townhouse and urged him to run. Two weeks ago, Mr. Ackman publicly declared, onstage at a Bloomberg Markets conference, “He’s all the best of Trump without the worst of Trump.” He added: “I would do everything in my power to get this guy elected.” Joking about the cost of a campaign, he said: “It’s just one quarter’s dividend.”
The drumbeat grew louder in late September, when Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a prominent political consultancy, wrote this tweet: “Word from those that know: Mike Bloomberg now seriously considering Independent run.”
That’s not necessarily the case, as evidenced by Mr. Bloomberg’s reply to most of his pals: “Not going to happen,” he repeats, according to one of his close friends.
For reasons I’ve outlined here and here and here, Bloomberg would be an awful president. But with the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua on the ropes and Donald Trump terrifying the New York City moneyed set, Bloomberg — Democrat, Republican, Independent and now Democrat again — would be just their kind of guy.
Of course, this popular parlor game of Manhattan’s moneyed elite may just be an echo chamber that has no resonance in the rest of the country. And Wall Street’s interest in Mr. Bloomberg could be a liability to his candidacy. Still, it is Mr. Trump’s enduring position atop the polls that has convinced them that there is a path to the presidency for Mr. Bloomberg. The conventional wisdom before Mr. Trump’s campaign was that a billionaire was unelectable; given Mr. Trump’s success, Mr. Bloomberg’s friends say he should revisit his stance.
Never happen. Then again, I thought the same thing about Donald Trump.