Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has positioned himself as the modern do-it-yourself candidate for president in the last few months. His efforts have included a desire to create a third-party super PAC and an informal campaign organization, which he recently re-organized into a super PAC and a team with staffers to coordinate with donors. But Mr. Bloomberg’s intentions are quickly revealed. First, Mr. Bloomberg is likely to raise big money for Democrats if only because the Democrats asked him to. This put him at odds with the Bernie Sanders crowd, and once the Democrats officially adopted a climate agreement last weekend, he issued another statement. That drew the ire of some of Mr. Sanders’s most ardent supporters, but Mr. Bloomberg wasn’t going to alter his position. In so doing, he undercut Bernie and that became yet another battle in the Democratic primary. When Mr. Bloomberg then went public to say he wouldn’t run, the Democrats he was aligning himself with were already shaping their 2020 field. And this remains a defining moment for the campaign itself. Mr. Bloomberg’s role shows the delicate balance Democrats need to strike in this cycle: The longer the party runs a two-person contest between Mr. Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the worse it’s going to look to other voters.
A longer version of this article originally appeared on The New Republic.