Michael Bloomberg's unlikely presidential candidacy

U.S Presidency

2019-11-28 / www.economist.com




 Who is Michael Bloomberg?

Current job: CEO of Bloomberg LP and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. He is expected to run for president of the United States as a Democratic candidate.
Age: 77
Family: Bloomberg has been in a relationship with Diana Taylor, the former New York State Superintendent of Banks and Wall Street executive, since 2000. He has two daughters, Emma and Georgina Bloomberg.
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Political party: Democratic
Previous jobs: Former Wall Street executive. Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Former three-term mayor of New York City from 2002-2013.
On foreign policy:
" Supported the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
" On the Iran Deal, Bloomberg has said Obama's support for it would be "more compelling if he stopped minimizing the agreement's weaknesses and exaggerating its benefits."
" Has spoken relatively little on issues of foreign policy prior to his entrance into the 2020 race.

How much money has Michael Bloomberg raised?
Bloomberg, who's estimated to be worth more than $50 billion, is reportedly prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money on his presidential bid. He has not yet raised any money in the race.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on November 24th, scoring a rare triple. Mr Bloomberg has run for office as a Republican, as an independent and now as a Democrat.
Mr Bloomberg has pitched himself as a counter-weight to left-wingers such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who he says are "not well-positioned" to defeat President Donald Trump. He has outlined an ambitious, leftish policy agenda while disavowing Medicare for All, the signature health-care proposal on the left of the party. Mr Bloomberg might yet become the Democrats' pick for the White House, but the odds are slim, and his campaign will first have to overcome a problem: currently voters dislike him more than any of the other serious candidates running for president. He is a lot more unpopular than Mr Trump (see chart).
There is much to like about the idea of Mr Bloomberg in the White House. He has executive experience and, unlike the president, is a self-made entrepreneur. He won the mayorship of New York City as a Republican in 2001. Mr Bloomberg's tenure is perhaps best remembered for his support of a policy known as "stop-and-frisk", in which New York police liberally stopped residents to search for weapons and contraband. This was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court because, as practised, it was a form of racial profiling. But his mayorship was otherwise a success. Since leaving office he has launched campaigns on gun control and climate change.
According to The Economist's analysis of data from YouGov, which does our polling, Mr Bloomberg is the second-most-unpopular candidate for president (only Marianne Williamson, a spiritual guru moonlighting as a Democratic candidate, polls worse).
In fact, of 32 politicians YouGov has asked about since September, voters rated only Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Ms Williamson lower than Mr Bloomberg. This alone, however, does not rule out a Bloomberg victory in the Democrats' nominating contest. After all, Mr Trump won the presidency despite having an approval rating a year before the 2016 election of minus 18 points.

It will be tough for Mr Bloomberg to repeat Mr Trump's success, though. While he was a candidate the president took unorthodox positions on foreign policy and social spending-bucking Republican hawkishness and promising not to roll back Medicaid or Social Security. This allowed him to court Democrats who held unreconstructed racial attitudes but who favoured a large social safety net. Mr Bloomberg occupies a much lonelier place on the political spectrum. He aligns with the Democratic Party on questions like gay marriage and gun control. But he is opposed to populist economic proposals, such as Ms Warren's wealth tax .
Democratic primary voters say that the thing they most want is a candidate who can beat Mr Trump. If Mr Bloomberg can convince them that he can do that, his chances will shift. Even if that were to happen, though, he would still face several hurdles. He has decided to fund his own campaign, but by refusing to take contributions it is unclear how he could take part in the televised debates (the Democratic National Committee will allow only candidates who have received donations from 200,000 voters in the December debate). Such thresholds are likely to get more testing, as they have throughout the primary build-up so far.

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