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There is still time for Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg to enter the 2020 presidential race, as a field of weak candidates continues to fuel speculation of a dark horse savior, said former Clinton strategist Mark Penn on Sunday.
“There’s still a couple of days here,” he said on “Sunday Morning Futures.” I don’t know whether [Clinton will] look at the Michael Bloomberg thing and say, ‘the field’s too crowded now. I missed my opportunity,’ or the opposite.
“‘Wow the field’s weak, I could come in. I could get 165,000 donors, I’m tied with [Joe] Biden in some of these early states…’ There’s still a political logic there for her,” Penn continued.
He also commented on Biden’s tenuous position as the party’s frontrunner and said other candidates have shifted too far to the left to be seen as viable options to defeat President Trump.
“I think it was political logic,” Penn said earlier in the interview. “Unless this field changed, Biden is a frontrunner, but a weak frontrunner and a lot of the other candidates are too far to the left.”
“I think Michael Bloomberg saw that opportunity and made a pretty intelligent decision,” he added. “For him, it’s now or never in terms of running for president, so why not get in and shake up the Democratic Party.”
Trump commented on Bloomberg’s possible candidacy and predicted that he will fail miserably if he attempts to enter the race. He also claimed there’s no other candidate he would rather face than, “little Michael.”
“He’s not going to do well. But I think he’s going to hurt Biden actually, but he doesn’t have the magic to do well,” Trump told reporters on Friday. “Little Michael will fail. He’ll spend a lot of money. He’s got some really big issues. He’s got some personal problems and he’s got a lot of other problems.
“But I know Michael Bloomberg fairly well,” he continued. “He will not do very well, and if he did I’d be happy. There is nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael. That I can tell you.”
Penn said if Biden overperforms in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, he may fend off the challenge from Bloomberg, especially if Bloomberg is unable to obtain time on the debate stage.
“Biden’s going to have a test in Iowa and New Hampshire,” he said. “If Biden doesn’t come through that test… that’s going to present a clear field for Bloomberg… If Biden does particularly well in those two states, that might block the Bloomberg effort… So a lot of pressure is put on the Biden campaign now to deliver in the early states.”
“I think the big question is whether Bloomberg will be put into the debates or not, regardless of his polling numbers,” Penn added. “He needs 165,000 small donors… the Democratic Party says if you don’t have 165,000 small donors, you don’t qualify for the debates, and that is a problem for Michael Bloomberg.”
Penn also said Trump’s chances of winning reelection hinge on his support in the suburbs, but said it’s impossible to tell which way suburban voters will break, come 2020.
“The country is in the middle of a realignment. The Republicans had strongholds in the suburbs and were weak with working-class,” he said. “Donald Trump comes in, wins the election with a combination of suburban and working-class voters… but he’s been losing the suburbs. And that’s where you see election after election and in the midterms, the suburbs went over to the Democrats. The Democrats are changing as a party, so [are the Republicans]. Is that permanent, will it last? That I couldn’t tell you.”