Columbus: Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he won’t run for president in 2020, removing a prominent name from an already crowded field of candidates looking to challenge Donald Trump.
Bloomberg, 77, said he while he believes he would beat Trump in a general election, he’s “clear-eyed" about how difficult it would be to win the Democratic nomination. He said it would be better to spend the next two years putting resources into his initiatives such as helping the country transition to renewable energy and addressing gun violence.
“While there would be no higher honour than serving as president, my highest obligation as a citizen is to help the country the best way I can, right now," Bloomberg said in an op-ed published by Bloomberg Opinion.
Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.
The former three-term mayor had said he was seriously considering a bid for the Democratic nomination after opting not to run as an independent in 2016. He had signaled the key factors in his decision were whether he could win and whether he could have more of an impact continuing with his philanthropic pursuits.
Bloomberg has argued the US needs a competent and pragmatic chief executive with his kind of business and government experience who can get big things done, drawing an explicit contrast with Trump. He’s long supported issues popular among many Democrats, including gun control and mitigating climate change, and he spent more than $110 million in the 2018 congressional elections to help elect Democrats, according to figures provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
But Bloomberg has questioned positions popular with the party’s progressive wing such as Medicare for all and taxing the super wealthy. He also faced questions about why a former Republican with a past career on Wall Street should be the standard bearer for a party that increasingly relies on a young, diverse base that is often sceptical of big business.
In 2016, he ultimately decided a candidate outside the two major parties couldn’t win and endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton. He’s joined other Democrats in criticizing former Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz for contemplating an independent bid in 2020, saying he would split the vote and likely help re-elect Trump.
“It’s essential that we nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country back together," Bloomberg said in his op-ed. “We cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election and translate into ‘Four More Years.’"