In the months before he decided to run for president, Michael Bloomberg swore he wouldn’t take the plunge. Over and over, he told friends there was no place for him in the Democratic Party.
He might have been right, to judge from the beating he took in Las Vegas. His first debate was the night he dreaded and while his race for the nomination isn’t DOA, the road to victory just got a lot tougher.
His record and notorious past comments were easy pickings, and his rivals repeatedly aimed their fire at his billions, turning his wealth into a crime against humanity. Sometimes they misfired, but mostly they struck gold with their broadsides.
The audience ate it up, and Bloomy must have felt like the turkey in a turkey shoot.
The most devastating blow was Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s demand that he release women from the nondisclosure agreements they signed after complaining about sexual harassment or other issues at his Wall Street firm. Usually self-assured to the point of cockiness, Bloomy looked like a deer in the headlights, frozen with a mix of indecision and embarrassment.
Eventually he said no, he would not release the women and let them talk, but by then he had lost the argument. Joe Biden then piled on for good measure.
That’s not to suggest Bloomberg is completely finished. The heart of his case — that having Sanders as the nominee will hand Donald Trump four more years — cannot be dismissed and will still ring true for a lot of Democrats.