A Backup Plan for Moderates: Michael Bloomberg joins the Democratic Race

After much speculation it is official: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has officially declared his intention to take a run at the Democratic nominee and the presidency in 2020. While there are some incumbrances in his way he will benefit from a Democratic field that has been anything but convincing.

Two weeks ago, the news broke first. Back then Bloomberg the former Republican, who had continued to rule out a run, filed the necessary documents for possible participation in the primaries in several US states. Bloomberg is regarded as a moderate Democrat. As such, he will stand in direct competition to Joe Biden, who, despite leading the polls, has not been convincing so far.

He will join a crowded field, as almost twenty Democrats are still bidding for their party’s presidential nomination. Most of them have been campaigning for months. The primary elections, where the Democrats finally determine their candidate for the presidential election in November 2020, will start in early February in the US state of Iowa. Not for Bloomberg, however, who will ignore the first two events and instead focus on Super Tuesday.

After his announcement, it did not take long for the other candidates to raise criticism. In particular, socialist senators Warren and Sanders, who have repeatedly demonized wealth and success, aimed at Bloomberg’s net worth. Sanders had recently been “disgusted with the idea that Bloomberg or any other billionaire believes he can bypass the political process and raise tens of millions of dollars to buy our election.”

Bloomberg, who once founded the finance and media company named after him, is considered one of the richest men in the world. His fortune is estimated to exceed $50 billion. As such he has been able to advertise in twenty states already, for a total of $31 million. The previous record was held by former President Obama, who invested $25 million in 2012 for his re-election bid. Bloomberg has shattered this mark – on the first weekend.

As for his policies, Bloomberg will focus on the most pressing issues during his election campaign, including the creation of well-paid jobs, medical care for all Americans, an end to the abuse of gun violence, the fight against global warming and one Reform of migration legislation. He also promised to increase “taxes on wealthy people like me”. Most importantly, just like any other candidate in the field, he seeks to beat Donald Trump and bring back normality to the office.

Bloomberg’s chances for this are hard to quantify at this stage. There are no samples of candidates entering the race at this late stage and make a successful bid. Another former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, painfully realized this in 2008.

However, the fact that Bloomberg is a known commodity will certainly help, as he does not need to establish a profile from scratch. Much will depend on how his adverts resonate with the public as he does have some catching up to do and will not take part in the next debate due to being self-funded and currently polling around one percent.

In this sense, skipping the first two contests and focussing on Super Tuesday might be a good call, as it not only allows Bloomberg to gather his troops but to be ready at the first meaningful test.

The main incumbrance for the former mayor to overcome will be the Afro-American vote. Despite an apology the previous week, Bloomberg conducted a now-infamous “stop and frisk” policy, a tactic he had to abandon once it was deemed unconstitutional. Other than his wealth, it will be the main target his competitors will be going for.

Nonetheless, his profile and his resources will make the transition into the race much easier than for most other candidates and a field that has looked inept and downright crazy at times will certainly help Bloomberg’s cause. At the very least, Bloomberg will turn out to be a viable backup plan for moderates if Joe Biden continues to struggle.