Bloomberg Weighing Third Party Presidential Chances

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Image courtesy of Mike

Bloomberg Weighing Third Party Presidential Chances

| published January 11, 2016 |

By Keith H. Roberts, Thursday Review contributor

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a Presidential run as an independent candidate in 2016, according to reports in the New York Times and reports from those close to Bloomberg.

Word began to circulate this week after it was confirmed that the mayor commissioned a major polling organization to conduct a preliminary survey of his chances in an-already crowded race for U.S. President. The poll comes after many months of speculation that Bloomberg has been seriously considering entering the race, and after rumor that he has expressed dissatisfaction with the current crop of candidates—Democrats and Republicans.

The poll which his team commissioned was testing how he would fare in a three-way race against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

If Bloomberg—businessman and philanthropist—were to run, he would also be facing potential third party competition from Democrat James Webb, the former Virginia Governor who dropped out of the race months ago, and the as-yet nominated Libertarian Party candidate, which may turn out to be former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who just announced his candidacy weeks ago.

Momentum within Bloomberg’s inner circle has gained steam within the last two weeks, as the multi-term mayor expresses private concern that neither major party will produce a candidate able to seriously address the concerns of the country. Bloomberg, a one-time Democrat who switched to the GOP more than 15 years ago, decided to run for re-election before his third term as an Independent.

This is not the first time Bloomberg has generated discussion of a possible Presidential run. In late 2007 and early 2008 there was substantial discussion within political circles that the mayor might enter the race. Ultimately, he remained on the sidelines through most of 2008, and in the end endorsed Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, citing climate change and global warming as the pivotal factor in his decision to endorse a Democrat.

Bloomberg, who was first elected mayor of New York City in 2001, is a billionaire (according to Fortune, he is the seventh-richest American citizen) who made his fortune in financial data and financial information, media and publishing, and a variety of smaller enterprises. He started his career at Salomon Brothers, but quickly forged his own path in the early 1980s when he sought to develop real-time electronic tools for stock brokers and Wall Street analysts to track financial data. He and his team developed the “Market Master” computer terminal, more popularly known as the Bloomberg Terminal, an early database system interconnected to the output of major financial markets and trading centers. Starting with just 22 workstation terminals at Merrill Lynch in 1982, Bloomberg terminals now number more than 300,000 worldwide.

Bloomberg also owns a financial news cable TV network, several radio stations, and Businesweek magazine, which was renamed Bloomberg Businessweek several years ago.

Politically, Bloomberg may pose a greater risk to Clinton than to a Republican nominee, as his positions on many issues have migrated over time to be far more progressive than those of most Republican candidates. He favors stronger and more aggressive measures to combat climate change and global warming, favors much more restrictive gun control laws, and supports more stringent measures on food safety and public health as it relates to diet and especially fast food. Bloomberg is pro-choice, and takes a more liberal stance on issues of immigration. He has attacked Trump’s call to deport millions of illegal immigrants, and favor instead a structured path to citizenship for those already in the U.S.

His positions on gun control have made him a frequent political target of anti-Bloomberg advertising by conservative groups and pro-gun advocates.

But Bloomberg tends also to be pro-business on many issues. He is known as pro-development, and often confounds liberal supporters with his support for major private development projects and mega-projects, arguing that business growth spurs jobs creation—especially construction and development.

He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Gary Johnson Announces Presidential Bid; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; January 6, 2016.

Trump Reaffirms Loyalty Pledge to GOP; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; December 17, 2015.