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Inside The Mind Of Michael Bloomberg

In this Dec. 3, 2015, file photo, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during the C40 cities awards ceremony, in Paris. Bloomberg is taking some early steps toward launching a potential independent campaign for president. That's according to three people familiar with the billionaire media executive's plans. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly for Bloomberg. (Thibault Camus/ AP)
In this Dec. 3, 2015, file photo, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during the C40 cities awards ceremony, in Paris. Bloomberg is taking some early steps toward launching a potential independent campaign for president. That's according to three people familiar with the billionaire media executive's plans. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly for Bloomberg. (Thibault Camus/ AP)
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You’re Michael Bloomberg, and right now your mind is a swirl of emotions: horror, anticipation, excitement.

The nation doesn’t necessarily follow New Hampshire’s lead, of course. There is nothing inevitable about Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton’s southern firewall may hold. Sanders’s Vermont politics may get little traction in more heterogeneous states. John Kasich (Democrats’ favorite Republican) or even Jeb Bush could surge as the rest of the GOP field culls itself. And there is always a sense that — even though his past gaffes amounted to nothing — Trump is just one sentence, one ill-timed curse, away from self-immolation.

No question, much of the game remains to be played. In this topsy-turvy year, anything can happen. Trump was dead after Iowa; now he’s some sort of immortal Lazarus. And as invincible as Sanders looks right now, pundits might be writing his epitaph in a couple of weeks.

You’re Michael Bloomberg and the prospects from both parties appall. In an election where there are only two choices, both of them awful, the nation seems headed for disaster.

Still, teams ahead in the first inning or first quarter win more often than not. Neither Sanders nor Trump would change places with their opponents. For both men, the prospects of a convention win seem tantalizingly possible.

You’re Michael Bloomberg and those prospects horrify. There is now a real chance that one nominee will be a lunatic while the other a socialist (and from your own point of view, the latter equates to the former). This, of course, is the fundamental insanity of 2016. On the right, a party that calls itself conservative appear poised to elect a man who personal disposition, temperament and politics are anything but. Trump brags about his sexual conquests, contemplating, even, whether he might date his daughter. He is a loud-mouthed, mean-spirited, crude, blustering bully. And his policy prescriptions, if one could even call them that, are grounded in little more than irrational rage. How will the Republicans ever live this down?

And Sanders might be worse. Democrats have spent years trying to persuade voters they buy into America’s free-market, entrepreneurial economic system. Their regulations and social programs weren’t a repudiation of that system, they would argue, but rather efforts to rein in the market’s excesses — a la Franklin Roosevelt, to save capitalism from itself.

But Sanders, you know, is no real Democrat: He’s a socialist and, the illusions of the Facebook generation notwithstanding, that’s not simply a word for someone who wants us all to be connected. Socialists reject capitalism, they reject markets, they reject entrepreneurs. It’s the state — not individuals -- who they think should own and control the means of production. As Glenn Beck once taunted, but with Sanders now looks increasingly true, “There is no difference between a progressive and a socialist.” How will the Democrats ever live that down?

You’re Michael Bloomberg and the prospects from both parties appall. In an election where there are only two choices, both of them awful, the nation seems headed for disaster.

You’re Michael Bloomberg and the anticipation builds. You know you aren’t alone in your qualms. People are calling. There are cries for a new paradigm, an independent candidate who can appeal to the anti-establishment voters whose anger succors Sanders and Trump. And they all believe that new paradigm can be found in you, the man from Medford, Mass.

In this topsy-turvy year, anything can happen.

You’re Michael Bloomberg and you know you can do it. You offer one thing neither Trump nor Sanders possess: A sturdy and rational approach to making government work. Your years running New York were a management consultant’s dream. You brought in top-notch staff. Your office was the “bullpen,” a freewheeling open space of transparency, fairness and creativity. You weren’t partisan; you were a problem solver. Sure, you had your issues — Big Soda, guns — but they weren’t ideologically grounded. They were just practical attempts to fix things.

You’re Michael Bloomberg and you’re excited. You know the history, you know the data.  Third party candidacies have been fool’s games. But things have been getting dull of late. It’s not enough to have made multiple billions. It’s not enough to have been three-term mayor. But the presidency, and with it the chance to save America from these two clowns? Like a siren song, the thrill of being the nation’s hero beckons.

You’re Michael Bloomberg, and it’s decision time.

Tom Keane Twitter Cognoscenti contributor
Tom Keane is a Boston-based writer.

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