Politics

Michael Bloomberg Enters 2020 Presidential Race

Former NYC Mayor Files for Primary

By: Olivia Frasca

The Democratic candidate’s campaign is entirely self-financed as of now. Credit: The New York Times

CEO of Bloomberg L.P. and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his run for president on November 24. He filed for the Arkansas Democratic primary on November 12. 

“Defeating Trump and rebuilding America is the most urgent and important fight of our lives,” according to a statement on his campaign website. “And I’m going all in.” 

Like most Democrats running for the nomination, Bloomberg supports common sense gun control and climate change reform. He is also a proponent of universal healthcare. 

Bloomberg’s company has partnered with an environmental organization, the Sierra Club, for almost a decade with a mission to shut down the country’s coal plants and replace them with sustainable energy.  

The CEO’s website promotes his middle-class roots. He grew up outside of Boston and was the son of a bookkeeper and a secretary. 

Bloomberg worked his way through Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School. Laid off at a finance firm in 1981, he began Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg served as the mayor of New York City from 2001 through 2013. 

Before he announced his run for the presidential election, he apologized for “stop-and-frisk,” a controversial policy during his mayoralty. 

This policing program targeted black and Latino communities. He visited the Christian Cultural Center, a black megachurch in Brooklyn, on November 17. 

A New York Times article about stop-and-frisk concluded that “Only 14 out of every 10,000 stops conducted during the Bloomberg era turned up a gun, and just 1,200 out of every 10,000 ended with a fine, an arrest or the seizure of an illegal weapon, according to police data analyzed by the New York Civil Liberties Union.”

Although Bloomberg began his campaign late and missed the Democratic debates, he is making up for lost time with extensive advertising. He has outspent many of his competitors since joining the race.

Critics have accused him of trying to buy the 2020 election. His self-financed advertisements have put him in fourth place out of 15 Democratic candidates in the polls, according to Reuters.

He is not accepting any campaign contributions which disqualifies him from the debates. 

In 2001, Bloomberg switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in order to run for mayor on the Republican ticket. 

The candidate returned to the Democratic party in 2018. Earlier this year, he announced he would not be joining the race but would support his party. 

City Council narrowly approved a measure that allowed Bloomberg to run for reelection in 2008. The consecutive two-term limit for a mayor was lifted in light of the recession. 

“Some people accused the wealthy Mr. Bloomberg as being out of touch with everyday residents in a city where the Occupy Wall Street movement erupted in 2011 to protest the widening divide between rich and poor,” mentions the Wall Street Journal.

Bloomberg was often considered distant from the public, as he owned a billion-dollar corporation and did not live at Gracie Mansion like past mayors. 

He made major changes to education and public health programs during his three terms. He supported the expansion of charter schools, clashed with unions, and attempted to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. 

He also led major redevelopment projects that transformed public spaces in Midtown and the Financial District following 9/11.

The billionaire has contributed a significant portion of his income to causes he is passionate about, such as student financial aid. He donated $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, in 2018 for this purpose. 

Bloomberg’s corporate background, public service, and current philanthropy makes him a moderate candidate for the Democratic nomination.

 

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