Trump hears echoes of 2016

When self-made billionaire Michael Bloomberg of New York decided not to run for president in 2020, you could hear a sigh of relief emanating from the White House.

After all, Bloomberg has been the bane of President Donald Trump’s existence even before the self-proclaimed billionaire from New York ran as a Republican in the 2016 election.

Indeed, it was then that Trump realized he couldn’t intimidate Bloomberg, who is legitimately worth $53 billion – five times more than Trump, who became a global real-estate developer as a result of major financial assistance from his father.

During the Democratic National Convention, Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, had this to say about the GOP presidential nominee:

“Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us. I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.”

Bloomberg also issued a searing indictment of Trump’s business practices.

“Trump says he’ll punish manufacturers that move to Mexico or China, but the clothes he sells are made overseas in low-wage factories. He says he wants to put Americans back to work, but he games the U.S. visa system so he can hire temporary foreign workers at low wages. He says he wants to deport 11 million undocumented people, but he seems to have no problem in hiring them. What’d I miss here?

“Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.”

This writer firmly believes that the only way Democrats are going to defeat the president in his re-election bid next year is to find a candidate who can strip away the veneer of Trump’s self-proclaimed success as a real-estate developer and businessman.

There are close to two dozen candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, including a handful who are entrenched politically, but they’ve been limited in their ability to go after Trump’s business practices because they aren’t in his league.

It should be recalled that the real-estate developer won the Republican nomination and ultimately the presidency by telling the American people that he wasn’t a politician and was running on his success as a businessman. The Trump brand is known worldwide.

A sufficient number of voters bought what he was selling, and he won the electoral collee vote while losing the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

While the Democratic hopefuls, including Mahoning Valley Congressman Tim Ryan of Howland, have been pounding away at Trump’s record in office, they have largely steered clear of attacking his con artistry – as billionaire Bloomberg characterized it.

Until now.

Last month, another legitimate billionaire threw his hat in the Democratic ring and suddenly the 2020 presidential race has taken an interesting turn.

Tom Steyer, financier, environmentalist and philanthropist from California, launched his campaign with a television commercial that went for Trump’s jugular.

“Donald Trump failed as a businessman. He borrowed billions, and left a trail of bankruptcy and broken promises. He hasn’t changed. I started a tiny investment business and grew it successfully over years to $236 billion. I’m Tom Steyer, and I approve this message.

“I’m running for president because unlike other candidates, I can go head to head with Donald Trump on the economy and expose him for what he is – a fraud and a failure.”

But here’s the pledge from Steyer that will keep the Trump campaign up at night: The billionaire activist will write a $100 million check to his own campaign.

He already has national name recognition because he is leading the effort for Trump’s impeachment based on the findings of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 race.

“Why am I different?” Steyer asked rhetorically when he announced his candidacy. “I am not an insider. Look at the top four Democratic candidates. They have between them 70 years in Congress. That is the definition of insider. If we are going to change, it will be a different way. It must be from the grass roots.”

There’s another major difference between billionaire Steyer and billionaire Trump (who continues to fight any effort to make public his tax returns, as other presidents have done): Like the uber wealthy Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, Steyer and his wife are donating much of their fortune to charity.

If Steyer is able to qualify for the Democratic debates in the fall, he will add a dimension to the race that is sorely lacking: Being Trump’s worst nightmare.