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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

This is how Mike Bloomberg gets a mass audience to listen up

Michael Bloomberg on July 24 at the NAACP's

Michael Bloomberg on July 24 at the NAACP's annual convention in Detroit. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/Jeff Kowalsky

Yeah, yeah, we know, we know.

Billionaire Mike Bloomberg is "testing the waters" again for president, and we are all living in a remake of "Groundhog Day."

But consider this: Every time in recent years that the ex-mayor had his entourage crank up noise about a possible run, moderates and middle-of-the-roaders regarded Bloomberg as a potentially good and competent president if he could ever win.

Brandishing a ton of money in the direction of a presidential race assures no traction. But voters will hear Bloomberg way more than they haveTom Steyer or Howard Schultz, neither of whom came close to serving in a big public office.

Will Bloomberg take the leap against long odds? We're used to seeing him explore and then punt, and it is late in the game again for 2020. He said eight months ago he wouldn't do it.

Believe this bid is for real only if you see it.

Still, Bloomberg will at least get his credits restated: He conducts himself as an adult who lauds compromise as a positive. Pushes for what he sees as sane gun restrictions. Accepts authentic science on climate change.

Bloomberg is a mainstream capitalist. He hails the free markets that allowed him to reach the top on his own initiative. He shuns populist sloganeering against corporations, globalism and wealth accumulation.

Unlike President Donald Trump, who ascended as a blustering real-estate heir turned TV celebrity, Bloomberg is a major business success with bigger ideas about government initiatives, and a larger vision of the U.S. role in the world.

He would never fit the party of Trump and would like to see him defeated, but just as surely recoils at watching such progressives as Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders winning the banner of the Democratic Party.

Last time out, Bloomberg clearly worried about any threat Sanders could pose to Hillary Clinton and made much of his own support for her. He spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and won cheers by saying of Trump that New Yorkers know a con job when they see one.

Parts of his record will make core Democratic primary voters, populistic Republicans and libertarians of all shades wary.

Overwrought gun-rights activists have long denounced his big-dollar weapons-control campaigns as satanic.

On orders from Bloomberg's City Hall, anti-Iraq War demonstrators were targeted for roundups during the 2004 Republican convention, where the mayor spoke in support of President George W. Bush.

Bloomberg used his clout as an incumbent to get a 1993 referendum reversed by the City Council to so he could dodge the city's two-term limit on elected offices.

Over the past 20 years he was a Democrat, then a Republican, then unaffiliated, and back to Democrat.

One could even argue that his term-limit fix and his polarizing policies on random police searches helped set the rationale for a pro-Bill de Blasio backlash in 2013.

So Bloomberg's chances of winning the White House may be no better now than they were when he previously balked. One Twitter user suggested that if he really wants to help, as a non-candidate, he can fund negative ads against Trump in the Midwest.

But every public figure has an ego. At 77, Bloomberg surely wants to sell people on his leadership and experience.

At least, his stances will win a new and serious round of attention in the public sphere.

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