Update: Michael Bloomberg announced on March 5, 2019, that he would not be launching a campaign for president in 2020. He wrote in an editorial announcing his decision: “I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has raised further speculation about a potential presidential run in 2020. He debuted a series of ads on Sunday, November 4, with a message urging voters to choose Democratic candidates when they go to the ballot box on November 6.
The two-minute ad, shown above, was paid for by Bloomberg’s PAC, “Independence USA.” According to the Washington Post, the commercial was part of a $5 million advertising campaign designed to encourage people to vote in the midterms. The ad is titled “Higher Purpose.”
One possible clue that Bloomberg is considering a presidential run is that he begins his ad by attempting to come across as non-partisan. He comes right out and states that he wanted to address the American public “not as a Democrat or a Republican… but as an American who is deeply concerned with the direction of our nation.”
Bloomberg then states that he “watched the recent bombings and mass shootings with growing alarm” and alluded to political violence as being a threat to democracy. Bloomberg also invoked the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, stating that violence against a religious group “tears at the heart of our humanity.”
Another clue is that Bloomberg alludes to being a Washington outsider, which has been a popular theme on the campaign trail. President Donald Trump appealed to voters as a businessman, and as someone who was not part of the establishment in Washington, D.C. If Bloomberg is running for president, he appears to be striking a similar tune. He called out current lawmakers in the ad. “We look to Washington to lead, to offer solutions, to bring us together, and to appeal to all of us as Americans… We expect a plan. We expect to be called to a higher purpose. We expect to work together. I don’t hear that call coming from Washington these days. Do you?”
Here’s a third clue within this ad: Bloomberg goes after President Trump. He does not say the president’s name, but a photo of the president appears on-screen as Bloomberg describes the country’s division. He appears to blame President Trump for the political discord. “Shouting in hysterics instead of calm reasoning. Pointed fingers instead of open hands. Division instead of unity. We see this most dramatically with the fear-mongering over immigration.” Bloomberg goes on to describe what could be interpreted as a political platform, by listing what he thinks is wrong with the current administration and Congress. “Sadly, our greatest threats today can be found from within our borders, from a government that is constantly on the verge of shutting down over partisan bickering, that is accumulating record debt, and failing to address our most urgent problems.” As Bloomberg says that last line, pictures of a broken roadway and smokestacks flash on screen, alluding to infrastructure and climate change.
Bloomberg ends the ad by stumping for Democratic candidates. “At this moment, we must send a signal to Republicans in Washington that they have failed to lead, failed to find solutions, and failed to bring us together. That’s why I’m voting Democratic. America is the greatest nation on earth and for all our sakes we must start becoming the UNITED States of America once again.”
Bloomberg had tongues wagging when he re-registered as a Democrat in October 2018. He had been a Democrat prior to 2001. But he joined the Republican party in 2001 when he decided to run for mayor of New York City. He left the party in 2007 to become an Independent. He won a third term as New York City’s mayor in 2009 as an Independent.
Bloomberg was briefly considered as a potential presidential candidate in 2016. He announced in February of 2016 that he was thinking about running as a third-party candidate. He ultimately decided against it.
In the current election cycle, Bloomberg has put a lot of money behind supporting Democratic candidates. In October 2018, he donated $20 million to the Senate Majority PAC. According to CNBC, Bloomberg also donated about $80 million throughout 2018 to boost the campaigns of Democratic candidates for the House.
Bloomberg is currently one of the world’s richest people. According to Forbes, as of November 4, 2018, the 76-year-old media executive was ranked 16th on its real-time list of the world’s billionaires. His net worth was estimated to be $46.2 billion.