Vice President Joe Biden is not the only potential presidential candidate that could turn the race upside down. The New York Times reported that former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is seriously contemplating a run.
A number of wealthy power brokers, including hedge fund bad boy Wild Bill Ackman and Rupert Murdoch, are actively encouraging Bloomberg to run for the White House, Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote in a recent column. Sorkin thinks that what he calls the plutocracy is trying to get Bloomberg to run.
“With Trump becoming very serious candidate, it’s time for next billionaire candidate, Mike Bloomberg to step into ring,” a Tweet Sorkin attributed to Murdoch states. “Greatest mayor.”
“I would do everything in my power to get this guy elected,” Ackman said of Bloomberg. Interestingly enough, Ackman made that comment in a Bloomberg influencer interview. Ackman also joked that a presidential campaign would cost him less than one quarter’s dividend from his hedge fund, Pershing Square Partners.
How Bloomberg would Disrupt the Campaign
It is not clear if Mr. Bloomberg is actually running or not, but his entry would certainly disrupt the campaign. As I have noted elsewhere, Bloomberg has more money than Donald Trump, proven political experience, and a nationwide organization. He would be a highly credible candidate from the start.
The former mayor has also lots of controversy because of his gun control crusade and his support for the NYPD’s Stop & Frisk tactics. Bloomberg is one candidate who would have both Black Lives Matter and the National Rifle Association attacking him. A Bloomberg run would be a nightmare for the Secret Service because the former mayor would have legions of left wing and right wing nuts gunning for him.
Interestingly enough, it is not clear which primary Bloomberg would enter, the Democrat or the Republican. Most likely, he would run as a Democrat because his outspoken support of gun control would make him unelectable in the Republican contest.
Why is the Elite Backing a Bloomberg Run?
What is truly interesting is where all the pressure for Bloomberg to run is coming from. According to Sorkin, it’s coming from Wall Street. The nation’s business elite are apparently shopping for a new presidential candidate.
So why would the business elite be so interested in getting somebody else in the race? Here are a few reasons:
- The Wall Street crowd does not like Donald Trump, nor do they trust him. They fear his anti-free trade and anti-immigrant rhetoric. In particular, they might be afraid he’ll jeopardize America’s trade relations with China, which are vital to their success.
- The Wall Streeters are afraid that an antibusiness Democrat, such as Bernie Sanders, could be elected. Sanders is the most blatantly anti-business and anti-Wall Street candidate to achieve national prominence in decades, yet he is giving Hilary Clinton a serious run for her money. Bloomberg is left wing enough to win a Democratic primary, but he is solidly pro-business.
- Wall Street is afraid that Hillary might return to her left wing roots, particularly if it can help her win the election.
- Wall Street wants a candidate it can control. They know they cannot control Trump or Sanders.
- The Wall Street crowd is afraid that Hillary could lose, particularly in the primary. She’s run a real lousy campaign and hasn’t generated any enthusiasm despite all the media support for her. Even if Bloomberg would not win, he could take enough votes from Sanders to cost him the primary.
- They might be trying to put pressure on other electable Democrats, such as Joe Biden or New York Governor Andy Cuomo, to get into the race.
- The victory of second generation leftist and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, son of Fidel Castro’s old buddy Pierre Trudeau, in Canada’s election on Oct. 19, 2015 has the business elite spooked. Trudeau is the most left wing candidate elected to national office in an English speaking country in decades and he won with 40% of the vote. As Canadian Prime Minister, Trudeau has vowed to increase taxes on the rich, institute deficit spending, oppose free trade, and cut military spending. Canada’s Liberals are also toying with some very radical notions, including a guaranteed income
Another Leftwing Trump Emerges
There’s also another credible left-wing Trump out there, although it’s one the pundits are not familiar with. Bill Ackman himself, the hedge fund maverick, is sounding more and like a candidate.
“People thought a billionaire couldn’t run for president,” Ackman told Bloomberg’s Stephanie Ruhle. “Trump disabused everyone of that notion.”
Ackman does have a lot in common with Trump: he’s rich, he’s egoistical, he’s outspoken, and he’s crazy. According to Forbes, Ackman is worth $2.6 billion and he controls the $18.5 billion Pershing Square Capital Management Hedge Fund. Ackman has a reputation as an activist investor, which means he tries to tell businesspeople how to run their companies.
Those on Wall Street know that Wild Bill is almost as crazy as Trump is. Some of his moves and statements are as bizarre as anything Trump has done. He’s been waging a one-man war on the direct sales company Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) for years. Ackman has called the company a pyramid scam and said its executives should go to jail, yet he’s invested in it.
He’s even made a $1 billion bet against its shares that will only pay off if the Department of Justice takes legal action against that company. Ackman also thinks that student loans are a bubble that will melt down as the subprime mortgages did a decade ago.
“If you think about the trillion dollars of student loans we have outstanding, there’s no way students are going to pay it back,” Ackman told analysts at the 13D Monitor’s Active-Passive Investor Summit in April. Ackman predicted that student loan holders will protest and force government to forgive their loans at some point.
Ackman is also providing prescriptions for other political problems. He thinks that federal guarantees for the government mortgage underwriters Freddie Mac or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (OTCB: FMCC) and Fannie Mae or the Federal National Mortgage Association (OTCBb: FNMA) should be eliminated. Interestingly enough, Pershing Square holds stock in both those companies.
One has to wonder that if Bloomberg does not run, will Ackman step into the arena. Like Trump, he’s certainly a disruptive force and he’s completely illogical. Ackman is sounding more and more like a politician, much like Trump.
It looks like the election is about to get a lot crazier. One has to wonder what’s about to happen next.