The implications of that suggestion, however, were not lost on astute political observers, especially supporters of Sanders, a candidate who has greatly surprised the Beltway and media establishment by mounting a serious campaign against Clinton. With the Iowa caucuses just over a week away -- and with Sanders surging in both state-level and national polls -- there has been a palpable sense of unease in the upper echelons of both the major parties about what should be done to dissuade voters from throwing their support behind "insurgent" candidates.
As political commentator and progressive media strategist Michael Brooks immediately noted on Twitter in response to Saturday's news: "Bloomberg hinting at a run is a cynical political threat aimed at Sanders supporters."
Meanwhile, Canadian journalist Derrick O'Keefe added:
Michael Bloomberg's bullying of primary voters illustrates Bernie Sanders' point: billionaires have way too much economic & political power.
And according to Matthew Rozsa, a political columnist and a Ph.D. student in history at Lehigh University, a run by Bloomberg would be a disaster, not just for his opponents, but for the nation at large:
"A Bloomberg third-party campaign [...] would be the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothes. Even his ideological message is an inversion of American norms; third-party candidates have, traditionally, represented ideas perceived as too extreme for the major parties. Bloomberg, on the other hand, would be a self-declared moderate denouncing the perceived extremism to his left and right from the major parties.
"In short, if Bloomberg emerges as a viable third-party alternative in the 2016 presidential election, his candidacy will severely distort our collective understanding of the political world we inhabit today. There are real problems that need to be addressed -- income inequality, racial and sexual discrimination, an entire generation cast adrift by an economy that seems to have no use for them -- and they require a serious candidate who is willing to openly and aggressively confront them. In Bloomberg, we would have a champion of the status quo who presents himself as a bold game-changer. Frankly, if our next president needs to be an agent of the same, I'd at least prefer it that he present himself as such."
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