Editor's Note: The following editorial originated with a sister newspaper, the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press.
Vanity, thy name is Bloomberg.
Michael Bloomberg is rich enough to buy almost anything he wants.
The Democratic presidential nomination, it turns out, is not one of them.
The multi-billionaire and former New York City mayor called off his unique presidential campaign this past week, having spent roughly $500 million to land four delegates and win the primary election in American Samoa — a particularly pointless accomplishment because territories can’t participate in the November election and the people of American Samoa technically aren’t even U.S. citizens (a status currently being disputed in federal court).
A half-billion dollars represents a pretty serious vanity investment, even if it’s a sliver of Bloomberg’s net worth.
In terms of feeding his vanity, it didn’t pay off; his performance in his first debate last month opened him to the sort of ridicule billionaires seldom encounter. In terms of getting him into the White House, it was a complete failure.
But he may not see it that way. Bloomberg jumped into the race late, at a time when the collection of center-left candidates already entered — among them Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar — were finding little or no traction in the early states.
His stated concern was that the left-wing candidates — specifically Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — would come out of the first four states having so crippled the more moderate candidates that the contest would be all but decided by Super Tuesday.
As we now know — but did not last November — that didn’t happen. But a couple of weeks ago, it certainly appeared plausible that Bloomberg would be Sanders’ final obstacle. Now, with the once-sprawling Democratic field essentially winnowed to an ascendant Biden and a diminished Sanders, Bloomberg bowed out Wednesday.
Out of the race, but not necessarily out of the arena. Bloomberg is retaining his vast network of paid staff though the election, and he reportedly intends to spend another sliver of his vast fortune the rest of the way to unseat President Donald Trump.
We haven’t heard the last from Bloomberg.