Wednesday, February 13

ByKevin Sheekey

Read of the Day: Michael Bloomberg’s $500 Million Anti-Trump Moonshot (Politico)

The $500 million sum represents a floor, not a ceiling, on the billionaire’s potential spending to defeat the president in 2020. Bloomberg has assembled a political team that, since late November, has been meeting at least once weekly to consider what some aides have called “Plan A” and “Plan B.”

Plan A is straightforward: Bloomberg runs for president as a Democrat. According to Plan B, Bloomberg uses all the data — ranging from meticulously researched profiles of voters to polling data on the top issues that move the electorate — and field staff to help the otherwise-outgunned Democratic Party nominee to end Trump’s presidency.

If Bloomberg runs, his polling would likely show there’s a path for a centrist in a field of progressives, who presumably would cannibalize the progressive base. Surveys from Bloomberg’s longtime pollster, Doug Schoen, shows that 80 percent of Democratic primary voters respond positively to Bloomberg’s biography.

“When people learn about his involvement in climate change activism and gun safety, and when they learn that he’s not just a billionaire — but he came from a middle class background and his dad never earned more than $6,000 a year, and you talk about the work he’s done on the ground and his philanthropy — Dem primary voters view him favorably,” said one Democrat familiar with the polling.

With a net worth of $50 billion, Bloomberg contributed so much last year to charity — $767 million — that he was the nation’s second-biggest philanthropist behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Bloomberg’s charitable causes also overlap top issues for the Democratic electorate, such as climate change and gun control.

His giving provides a ripe area for contrast: the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ compared to the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Bloomberg’s charity has given away at least $8.2 billion to actual charities (including to Johns Hopkins). Trump’s foundation agreed last year to dissolve amid an investigation from New York’s attorney general, who said it was “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests [and engaged in] a shocking pattern of illegality.”

Democrats 2020: Could Michael Bloomberg Dethrone Donald Trump in the Battle of the Billionaires? (Telegraph – UK)

He holds an honorary knighthood and uses public transport to go to work both in London, where he has a home, and New York. And he is far wealthier than Donald Trump. Meet Michael Bloomberg, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat, who is mulling over taking on the US president in an electoral battle of the billionaires in 2020.

“I think he is no-nonsense, direct and at times humorous. He is very focused on what he thinks is the right approach to problem-solving,” said Jimmy Van Bramer, the New York City council’s deputy leader and a Democrat. Doug Muzzio, a political scientist at Baruch College in New York and a longtime observer of the city’s politics, said: “He is the adult in the room.”

Brexit Update:
-Theresa May’s Brexit Strategy Faces Renewed Threat in Parliament
(Bloomberg)
-Banks Fleeing Post-Brexit U.K. Face Fresh Regulatory Scrutiny (Bloomberg)

Chart of the Day: U.S. National Debt Soars to a Record $22 Trillion (Bloomberg)
Alan Greenspan Warns: `Extremely Imbalanced’ Path of U.S. Deficit (Bloomberg)

Trump’s Take on Trade Sounds a Lot Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Brand of Socialism (Bloomberg)

Climate Update:
-Sherrod Brown Defends Decision Not to Endorse Green New Deal
(Associated Press)
-Gavin Newsom Calls SF-to-LA High-Speed Rail Unrealistic, Pushes for Route from Bakersfield to Merced (San Francisco Chronicle)
-Trump Calls to Save Coal Plant Supplied by Major Supporter (Politico)
“As any business leader knows, the top consideration at @TVAnews is cost. Phasing out that coal plant will save Kentuckians money (not to mention their air & water),” Mike Bloomberg tweeted.

Today in Tech Jobs: New York Needs Amazon (New York Times oped – Kenneth T. Jackson)

Amazon’s opponents should take a longer-term view. If there is no economic opportunity, there are no jobs. If there are no jobs, there is no tax revenue. And without taxes, jobs and opportunity, New York will no longer be first among cities.

One Year Since Parkland: Teenage Journalists Memorialize 1,200 American Kids Killed By Guns in Last 12 Months (Columbia Journalism Review)

Working with The Trace, The Miami Herald and McClatchy, student reporters measure the void left in homes and classrooms that have lost young people to the pull of a trigger. Click here to see their names.

In Case You Missed It: John Dingell: My Last Words for America (Washington Post)

Lord Help Us, Bill de Blasio Still Thinking About Running for President (Vanity Fair)
Ahead of a speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School tomorrow: A press officer with Harvard had no idea that de Blasio was headlining an event at the university this week. “Exactly who’s speaking?” the officer asked a reporter. “Mayor who?” she said when told about the event. “De b–How do you spell that?” she asked.


Best of late night.

“Today a jury in New York convicted Mexican drug lord El Chapo, and now he’s facing life in prison. I’ll have a joke about this after I’m 100 percent sure he’s spending his life.”
— Jimmy Fallon

“Republicans and Democrats last night did the unthinkable and reached a deal to keep the government open. Now it’s up to Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter to decide if the president will sign it.”
— Jimmy Kimmel

“The Grammys were last night, or as my parents called them, the “Who Are Theys?””
— Conan O’Brien

For more best of late night from the New York Times, click here.