Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire, a CEO, a philanthropist, and the 108th mayor of New York City. According to the Independent, the former mayor also came close to running for the 2016 presidential nomination as an Independent candidate. It is emerging that he backed out of campaign plans because he wanted the American public to have a clear chance at getting rid of presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Bloomberg had a website built, filmed an assertive, straightforward television ad, and even vetted a running mate. He paid for polling to be done in 20 states, hired people to work on his campaign for months, and even opened campaign offices in North Carolina and Texas. Then on March 7, 2016, he released a letter on his website stated that he was abandoning his plans, titled “The Risk I Will Not Take.”
The rather lengthy letter details Bloomberg’s concern about the political climate of the country, noticing how in the past the presidential candidates had often sprung from somewhere in the middle, unlike the current temperament, as there is a deluge of extremism from both sides. The Independent mentioned that his advertisements billed him as a sensible member of the political elite, yet who was not held to any particular party affiliation. The New York Times found one Bloomberg for President 2016 slogan was “All Work, No Party.”
In his letter, Bloomberg decried the Democrats for seeking to undermine the work done by President Clinton, including deficit reduction, charter schools, and the financial sector. He also chided the Republicans for being willing to sidestep the efforts of President Reagan on issues like support for bipartisan budgets, immigration reform and entitlement reform. The former mayor said those presidents had helped the country progress, which was the exact opposite of what he saw with the current presidential bids. Bloomberg stated those presidents, Clinton and Reagan were problem solvers, not ideological purists. In the letter, Bloomberg said that he had been raised to think of the community and to give back. As former Mayor of New York City, he understands full well what a sacrifice campaigning can be, and Bloomberg was completely ready to put forth the effort because he thought the American people deserved that much.
However, as stated by the New York Times, Bloomberg decided to back out of his presidential campaign due to the facts, he said. If he ran, looking at the data alone, he would not be able to win. He wants the government to work for the people, not lobbyists and special interest groups. While he was flattered that so many people had asked him to run, it was an honor for him to consider that others thought he could handle such a responsibility, he could not run the risk of losing the electoral vote.
Bloomberg explained that he thought he could win individual states, but not the 270 Electoral votes necessary. He said that party loyalists in Congress would vote for whoever was in their party, even if he did receive the popular vote, victory was not likely for him. If he ran, it would take votes away from Hillary Clinton, and could lead to Trump becoming President, if the campaign was a three-way event.
He said he could not risk such a thing in good conscience. According to the New York Times, Bloomberg would have run if he thought that Bernie Sanders and Trump would enter the presidential race together. Democratic favorite, Clinton on the other hand, was far too established in her party, for him to consider running. Backing out of his campaign plans and backing away from the race was the best thing he could do to stop Trump.
Bloomberg discussed Trump in his letter, saying he had met the businessman previously, and they had gotten along, Bloomberg even appeared in a few episodes of The Apprentice. However, that didn’t change the fact that he thought of Trump’s campaign as “being the most divisive, demagogic campaign” and Bloomberg believed Trump was preying on people’s prejudices and fears. He also blasted Ted Cruz for similar divisive tactics, such as his refusal to oppose the banning of people from coming into the country based on their religion.
Bloomberg declared that what would make America great again would not be turning our backs on the values that made us the great nation we were in the first place. Bloomberg ended his letter with a plea for everyone who was able, to vote. As citizens, we have an obligation to “stand up on the behalf of the ideas and principles that represent the last best hope on Earth,” he said, quoting Lincoln.
By Juanita Lewis
Edited by Cathy Milne
The New York Times: Michael Bloomberg Says He Won’t Run for President
The Independent: US Election 2016: Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign was at a very advanced stage before he pulled out
The New Yorker: Michael Bloomberg Says He Won’t Run for President
Mike Bloomberg Official Site: The Risk I Will Not Take
Image Courtesy of David Berkowitz’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License