As November approaches, the upcoming presidential election continues to gain media coverage. Both Democratic and Republican candidates are vying for attention and votes as caucus season begins. However, former Democratic New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced he has contemplated a presidential run.
Bloomberg became involved in politics in the early 2000s with his election as mayor of New York City. Bloomberg, who was mayor of NYC for two terms, succeeded in pushing through state legislation to run for a controversial third term as mayor in 2008. His previous career on Wall Street allowed him to finance all of his mayoral campaigns, including spending almost $90 million on this third.
Now 73, Bloomberg has come into the 2016 presidential race as a possible Independent candidate. This idea of running for president is not new to Bloomberg; he previously considered running, but decided success was too unlikely. However, the popularity of Donald Trump and the contest between Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has led Bloomberg and his aids to draw a potential plan. Bloomberg officially changed his political status to Independent in 2007, but has held liberal values, such as supporting gun control and abortion rights.
Becoming part of the presidential race this late is Bloomberg’s main concern. He sponsored a poll to gauge how well a third-party candidate would do against Clinton and Trump, a tactic he used when deciding whether to run against Barack Obama in 2008. His aids have designed a campaign consisting of concentrated television advertisements and detailed policy speeches that they believe would work best for the relatively unknown candidate.
Another difficult factor for Bloomberg is the fact that no Independent presidential candidate has ever won the White House. However, he has received an endorsement. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has officially come out in support of Bloomberg.
“[Bloomberg] understands governing. He understands leadership. He understands people. He’s got the qualities that are required for the presidency, starting with character,” Hagel said in a phone interview with the New York Times.
There are some who support Bloomberg running as a way to increase the chances of a Republican winning the White House. Senator Rand Paul, a former presidential contender, stated to reporters that a potential Bloomberg bid could split the Democratic vote. The former mayor of NYC has until the first week of March to decide whether or not this presidential election would be favorable for an Independent candidate.