Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor trying to become the shortest individual elected president since the five-foot-seven William McKinley in 1896, will finally get the chance to stand up to his Democratic rivals on a debate stage. It remains to be seen what sort of contraption the multibillionaire will deploy in an attempt to conceal the truth about his diminutive stature at Wednesday's debate in Las Vegas.
Bloomberg, who has previously (and falsely) claimed to be 5-foot-10, qualified for the upcoming primary debate in Nevada after an NPR/PBS/Marist poll placed him in second place nationally among Democrats. The Democratic National Committee changed the debate's requirements specifically to ensure Bloomberg could participate. Previously, candidates were required to meet a threshold of campaign contributions to qualify. Bloomberg, who is self-funding his campaign, is not taking donations.
Bloomberg has a long history of standing on boxes to boost his height. President Donald J. Trump recently suggested the former mayor, aka "Mini Mike," would attempt to use a box or lift during the Democratic primary debates. "It's OK. There's nothing wrong. You can be short," said Trump during an interview with Sean Hannity. "Why should he get a box to stand on? He wants a box for the debates. Why should he be entitled? Does that mean everyone else gets a box?"
The media diligently endeavored to fact check Trump's claims. That is, they asked the Bloomberg campaign if Trump was right. The campaign denied it, and that was good enough for them.
Common sense, however, suggests Bloomberg would really like to stand on a box at the debate. He'll just have to be extra sneaky now that Trump has successfully drawn attention to his box obsession and forced his campaign to deny it. Fortunately for Bloomberg, the national media may go to great lengths to aid and abet his box plot.
Bloomberg has risen in recent polls thanks to the underwhelming performances of former "top-tier" candidates such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and former vice president Joe Biden. The NPR/PBS/Marist poll showed Bloomberg in second place nationwide behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) at 19 percent among registered Democrats.
Bloomberg is not even on the ballot in Nevada, which will hold its caucus on Saturday. His name will not appear on a primary ballot until March 3, aka "Super Tuesday," when Democratic voters in 14 states, including California and Texas, will head to the polls.