Given the near-certainty that Senate Republicans will acquit Trump of any article of impeachment, no matter how well-substantiated, the only question many are asking now is which candidate can beat the President in 2020. And the Democratic presidential candidates are having problems of their own.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden are offering
"Medicare for all who want it," a version of the "public option" that should have been included a decade ago in the Affordable Care Act in the first place. It would provide essential competition to private health insurance plans to keep their premiums and copays in check, and is politically popular
In contrast, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have proposed what might be called "Medicare, take it or leave it," which is unpopular
, unrealistic and would never make it through Congress.
At the same time, as Democrats could be focusing on a core value that distinguishes them all from Trump -- the expansion of freedom to all Americans, regardless of their color, gender or sexual orientation -- Buttigieg now finds himself embroiled
in similar charges of covert racism lodged earlier against Biden
(although with Biden, those ultimately did not "stick").
Trump will survive until November 2020. The question now is whether the Democrats will field a strong enough candidate to unseat him before 2024.
Personally, I am well to Bloomberg's left. But if one of the candidates we've seen thus far does not emerge as a strong favorite to beat President Donald Trump by Super Tuesday, New York's former mayor presents some formidable strengths.
Most importantly, when Americans consider them side by side, what becomes abundantly clear is that Bloomberg is everything Trump is not. And that would likely be apparent to those all-important suburban voters who used to vote reliably Republican but value competence and stability in a leader, whether a CEO or a President.
Trump is a failed businessman, born with a silver spoon, who has fought tooth and nail to hide whatever tarnish he imagines might be revealed in his finances.
Bloomberg, on the other hand, is a successful businessman and philanthropist, who built his fortune from the ground up.
Trump is an unsteady, unstable, erratic executive, who promised to run the government the way he runs his businesses, and has done as promised.
He is a bully, who likes to make people "deals" they can't refuse. He shows no loyalty to those who work for him and has had trouble retaining
senior management. He also can't keep separate
his personal business from the people's, as demonstrated by his inability to understand why holding an international summit at his own resort would be a problem.
Bloomberg is a professional with a steady hand, who also governs as he runs his businesses. In his case, as mayor of the nation's largest city, that meant efficiently
, although the policies he pursued ranged from right to left.
And unlike Trump, he recognized the conflict of interest inherent in a businessman leading a polity and stepped down as CEO
of his media companies when he became mayor, not resuming until he left office. How Bloomberg News covers politics when its founder is a presidential candidate remains to be seen, but the corporation understands the problem and is already setting policies
to address the conflict of interest in light of his rather sudden announcement.
Would I prefer a more progressive president than Bloomberg? Absolutely. As with most Democrats outside New York, I have only fleeting impressions of him, and we all know how the last "America's Mayor" worked out.
Bloomberg is clearly a centrist in an era of populism, in which the average American lives with insecurity while the few live with immense wealth and power. I would much prefer a matchup of a populist on the left against the faux populist president on the right.
But, no one questions Bloomberg's progressive positions
on gun violence, climate change and the freedom to decide
when to start a family, or his willingness to put his personal money where his mouth is.
I share serious concerns about some of the policies Bloomberg instituted in New York, like "stop and frisk
," which disproportionately targeted people of color. And like many Americans, I know little about how he would address wealth inequality in the US, and whether, as one of its beneficiaries, he would use his independence from campaign donors to address the stranglehold of money on our political system.
But do I think our democracy can survive four more years of Trump?
The Constitution is a powerful document, but it can't do anything from the shredder. At this point, if anyone can hold it together, I'd welcome a strong hand from the center if one does not emerge from the left.