Dear Michael Bloomberg,
I believe that I speak for many Europeans (and hopefully for even more Americans) when I welcome your bid for the presidency of the United States.
Of course, it is easy to dismiss the move if one points to the many grounds that can make such a step seem contentious, evoking, for instance, self-righteous considerations such as further reinforcing the perception that the American electoral process is a pure “money” confrontation; focus might concentrate on the former Mayor’s “unfair” advantage over the contenders for the primary nomination; one could also question the candidate’s age and, maybe, contest some aspects of his former distinguished public service.
Most damaging might be the internal party debate between the left leaning platforms of Bernie Sanders and Elisabeth Warrant and the more traditional “capitalistic” stance of Michael Bloomberg. Even if such confrontation is undoubtedly legitimate – if not the very essence of any democratic debate – its display during the long primary process risks, however, to obfuscate the fundamental choice between a morally totally discredited sitting President and his challengers, to the advantage of the former.
These and similar concerns pale to into insignificance when weighed against the overriding objective of replacing Donald Trump in the White House. His behavior, since his inauguration, has been simply incompatible with the responsibilities of his office, and, though some of his more extreme actions have been (at least temporarily) restrained by the judiciary, his unilateral and often contradictory actions in the foreign policy arena constitute a major threat to national security and to the peace and stability of the world.
That is why one should discard out of hand as irrelevant any of the so-called merits of Trump in the economic sphere or in meeting various campaign pledges. Financial markets, both in the USA and globally, remain since 2008 extremely fragile, being sustained lately by constant jawboning and the Federal Reserve’s assumed commitment to provide $ liquidity to the world (as it has since 2008/9).
Though I claim no particular expertise in domestic American politics, it seems to me that the former Mayor, if he were to secure the nomination, has the best chances of rallying the support of a very large number of Republican electors in addition to the traditional Democratic vote. Early successes in the primaries could also entice many sitting Republican Senators and Representatives to feel more comfortable in dropping their apparent blind support for Trump, bolstering rather than reducing their own reelection prospects.
A Bloomberg victory might also lead in its wake, for the first time since 2008, to electing a Congress far more capable of surmounting the partisan divide that has paralyzed most of the legislative process over the past 7 years. This alone might restore to politics some of its lost prestige as well as some respect for the badly wounded reputation of the United States on the international stage.
The political positioning of Michael Bloomberg on the Democratic Party and national stages is a very subtle and delicate act to balance and its sequencing is by no means straightforward. Nevertheless, the timing of his challenge seems to be well chosen, coming on the heels of the very damaging impeachment hearings that have further discredited the President’s standing. Far more damming than the actual actions carried out – which may or not amount to impeachable offenses – it is primarily the President’s moral fitness that is being challenged. Among the latest examples of missteps, one can mention: the callousness of his discarding of the Kurds in Syria, his patent disregard for the dignity and reputation of senior members of the civil service and of his administration (including undue overt pressure brought to bear during their formal testimonies), the oral pressure exerted on the Ukrainian President, the obstruction to legally mandated enquiries/subpoenas by Congress, the interference in normal military disciplinary procedures, etc.
Overriding the petty party political maneuverings in which the Washington swamp wallows, means really putting “America First”; Michael Bloomberg seems well placed to heal many of the wounds that have accumulated and drive forward a platform that could receive broad bi-partisan support.
In parallel, the confirmation of the new van der Leyen led European Commission seems also to herald a new era in transatlantic relations which, though strongly based on historic ties, needs nevertheless, a fundamental reset on multiple levels including defense (NATO), trade (relaunching Free Trade negotiations involving maybe the UK on the Transpacific model), geopolitics (including coordination between the US and EU on Iran, the Middle East, Ukraine), climate change, etc. Maybe one of the most delicate and important topics would be to start exploring a multilateral agreement on de-weaponizing, (in addition to nuclear armaments in Iran and North Korea), the U.S. Dollar which currently benefits (legitimately) from unilateral exorbitant privileges comparable to those of arms of mass destruction and the abuse of which could lead to conflict.
Though international affairs have rarely captured the interest of US public opinion, Michael Bloomberg’s thorough experience in both public and private sectors, makes him a potential constructive partner for the EU in achieving the ambitious new goals set by the Commission President. Her administration should try to build rapidly useful contacts with the Mayor’s entourage before her colleagues at the European Council preempt his attention. Claiming the responsibility for managing the EU/USA relationship through the office of the Commissioner/High Representative for Foreign Affairs, would be a major step in making the EU relevant in world politics.
In conclusion, while a successful presidential bid by Michael Bloomberg is first and foremost in the interests of the American people and provides the safest route to the removal of the incumbent, it appears also to offer the hope of significantly reducing the current exacerbated tensions on the world stage and making a significant contribution to economic prosperity and world peace.
Please accept herewith, dear Mr Bloomberg, my wishes for success in your endeavour and the best of EU (and British) luck!
Paul N. Goldschmidt
Director, European Commission (ret.)