(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
WASHINGTON – He teased a run for the presidency in 2008, in 2012, and even commissioned a detailed study in 2016 on his chances of victory running as an independent against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But ahead of the 2020 race, Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and the 11th richest man in the world, may finally be ready to take the plunge.
The lifelong centrist has reregistered as a Democrat and last week showed up in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, with a cameraman. He sat at diner tabletops with paper coffee cups, reminiscent of images from Clinton’s campaign launch last cycle, and met with local leaders in New Hampshire whose endorsements often serve as the first test of a candidate’s mettle there.
Bloomberg is not the only candidate throwing his hat in the ring early, just weeks before the 2018 midterm elections. Senators Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders
of Vermont, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are also touring the state, as well as Iowa, the first state to hold presidential caucuses.
But the former mayor, who made his fortune as an entrepreneur and businessman in software, media and financial services, is putting his money where his mouth is, pledging $80 million to flip the House of Representatives to the Democrats next month.
The billionaire, a Jewish man raised in Massachusetts, has reportedly worried that he is at home in neither party, staunchly liberal on social matters but a fiscal conservative, representative of a financial industry despised by the progressive left.
And yet Trump’s rise to the presidency may have changed his calculus. In 2016, he broke with his own sense of tradition by addressing the Democratic National Convention as an independent – “not out of party loyalty but out of love of country.”
“Together,” he pleaded, “let’s elect a sane, competent person with international experience.”
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The 2016 study, leaked that year to The New York Times
, found that an independent run by Bloomberg would split the vote and increase the chances of a Trump victory – an outcome that he could not stomach responsibility for, according to reports at the time. But with Trump already in the White House, a run to unseat him is a different story.
Reregistering with the party, Bloomberg said that Democrats must serve as “a bulwark against those who threaten our Constitution.”
“We need Democrats
to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs,” he said in an Instagram post.
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