Clinton versus Bloomberg

Justin Marinelli, Senior Writer

Hillary Clinton has declared her official candidacy for presidency of the United States. The greatest weapon she has is the perception that she cannot be beaten and that her victory is inevitable. Do not buy into this idea. Illusions are the currency of politics, but no currency can buy freedom from the underlying dynamics that dictate political battle. Clinton is strong, but not unstoppable, and there is one man who could knock her from her perch and claim the White House for himself. That man isn’t anyone that the Republicans are vetting, but someone who could leverage a return to the Democratic Party as a means of slingshotting himself into the Oval Office: Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, famed and lauded for his years as mayor of New York City, is the only candidate on either side of the aisle with the right combination of strengths needed to beat Clinton. To do so would require that he cripple her momentum, but there are a few ways in which this could be done.

The most important step to take would be to undermine her reputation as Secretary of State. Clinton was popular as Madame Secretary, and Bloomberg would have to undermine her perceived credibility in the role. The most effective way of doing this would be to point out that one of her most notable initiatives ended with Libya descending into a chaos that continues to this day. Painting Libya as a massive failure on Clinton’s part would be detrimental to her ambitions, and it offers Bloomberg the grounds to portray her as a bloodthirsty incompetent who left nothing but smoking craters everywhere she touched. This framing would also rob Clinton of her ability to use her support for the Osama bin Laden raid to bolster her campaign, as doing so would lend credence to Bloomberg’s portrayal of her.

The next step is to cast aspersions on her health. She has been treated for health problems such as blood clots before, her drinking can be questioned, and she took six months to recover from her concussion. There are several conclusions to reach from this, and none of them are pretty (especially the conclusion that what she suffered was no concussion, but something far worse). Bloomberg is older than Clinton, so this line of attack is not without its risks, but he has held up better in his age than Clinton, and he could portray himself as a healthier, more robust choice. The age difference is a weakness, but this would be the way to manage it.

On top of this, it wouldn’t hurt to cast some doubt on what Clinton has been doing with her emails. She deleted four years’ worth of emails from her time as Secretary of State. Nixon was badly mauled by 18 minutes of deleted audio. Four years of deleted emails could easily be turned into an attack on Clinton’s integrity.

These potential attacks, and others like them, are not a strategy in and of themselves, of course. Rather, they are a means of putting cracks in the Clinton armor and allowing Bloomberg to set himself up as a more favorable, reasonable, accomplished, and capable alternative. Could he do it? I like his odds. With the right approach, Bloomberg could cast enough doubt on Clinton to paint himself as a more desirable and more electable candidate. If he did this, there would be nothing that Clinton could do. His strengths match up with hers very nicely. He has the right angles of attack on her, but she has only one on him: age, a sticking point on which he has adequate counter-attacks.

At the end of the day, I don’t think Bloomberg is going to run. He strikes me as someone too smart to want the job of president. That said, he is in a very good position right now, and the opportunities for him to exploit are sitting right out in the open. With the right moves, he could find himself the Democratic nominee for president in an election with no strong Republican candidate. All the pieces are in place for a President Bloomberg. All he needs to do is step into the ring and make that future happen.

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