Bloomberg: A Tested Leader Waits in the Wings

I'm a Democrat and like many people I am very concerned about the upcoming presidential election. Our country's ability to tackle all kinds of inequality -- racial, gender, economic and the list goes on -- largely hinges on the outcome of the 2016 election and whether the Senate and House of Representatives stay in Republican hands.

I want to make clear that I don't think all Republicans are completely misguided -- just many of them like union-bashing Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and polarizing Texas Senator Ted Cruz and thuggish New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Moderates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio - although too far to the right on many issues for me -- at least offer new ideas on education and immigration.

But we saw what eight years of George W. Bush/Dick Cheney did to our country -- a near economic collapse, a headlong rush into a calamitous war and a rightward tilt of our Supreme Court.

The stakes are high in 2016, after eight years of Barack Obama. While its easy to find fault with some of his policies and methods -- particularly in Middle Eastern foreign policy and his ability to negotiate with an intransigent Congress -- history will almost certainly be very kind to him. His landmark health care plan will one day be hailed as revolutionary, like Social Security. His embrace of same-sex marriage, albeit a bit late, has made us a more tolerant country. Obama rarely gets enough credit for bringing America back from the brink of economic collapse early in his presidency with his steady stimulus plan and strong monetary policy.

Ironically, the first African-American President hasn't done enough to help the underclass in this country and the huge gap of economic inequality has widened. There has been a surge of activity across the country around the minimum wage but this is not nearly enough.

There has been no attempt to address America's unfair tax code, no attempt to make higher education less expensive for middle class and low-income families or reform the predatory college loan program or to address the coming crisis of Baby Boomer retirement savings, and so much more.

There's the proverbial elephant (in this case, it's more apt to call it a Democratic donkey) in the room, the presumptive -- and seemingly only -- Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton.

Like many, I am a fan of Hillary Clinton's for all the reasons we should be selecting a president -- she is progressive without being dogmatic and polarizing; she is extremely competent and has invaluable experience on foreign and domestic issues; she is battle-scarred and has been tested in public life for three decades.

But. But. But...

For all her experience and intelligence, I worry that Hillary is not a great candidate or campaigner. I worry that there is so much Clinton fatigue in this country. I worry that the media and the public will focus on the wrong things and damage her electability. I worry that she will stumble late in the campaign. I worry that there is no Democratic back-up plan.

So, I will join the growing, but small chorus of those who are saying, "Run, Mike, run."

I'm referring to former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, perhaps the only other moderate and supremely qualified person in public life who could lead this country in this turbulent time. He has the intelligence, the independence, the wealth, the team and probably most importantly he held the SECOND HARDEST JOB IN AMERICA for 12 years and he performed it incredibly effectively.

I'm debating whether it would be better for Bloomberg to jump into the Democratic primary soon, so Hillary has a real challenger to sharpen her campaign and message, or whether Bloomberg should wait until early 2016 to see whether Hillary is getting traction or is floundering.

An advantage of being a multi-billionaire is that you don't have to do fundraising and you can assemble an A-Team really quickly. Bloomberg can snap his fingers and have the finest minds in our country help him deliver his centrist, no-nonsense message. His business skills will surely help in the increasingly competitive global economy. His crime-fighting record will help ensure America stays safe from crime and terrorism. His blunt and honest way of governing will surely help us on the world stage, as America's hegemonic powers begin to recede.

So, even though there has been no official word from Bloomberg of any interest, I would bet that many Americans would love to have another choice in the Democratic primary. Bernie Sanders is a smart, outspoken lefty who speaks truth to power but he has no chance of being the next president. Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee have impressive records and may be rising stars, but it is doubtful either is ready for prime time.

While I hope Hillary Clinton continues to hone her centrist but populist message and gains overwhelming support, I would sleep better at night knowing that Mike Bloomberg is ready to step in at any time to ensure we can't have a Walker or Rubio presidency.

Run, Mike, run!

Tom Allon, the president of City & State, NY, was the Liberal Party-backed candidate for Mayor of New York City in 2013.
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