The Slatest

Michael Bloomberg Launches Campaign for President With Focus on Beating Trump

Michael Bloomberg speaks at the Christian Cultural Center on November 17, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Michael Bloomberg speaks at the Christian Cultural Center on November 17, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg officially announced Sunday he is running for president, joining an already crowded Democratic field with the bet that his massive bank account will help him overcome the late entry into the race. The 77-year-old former mayor of New York City announced his candidacy with an online video that partly told his story but also focused on the importance of beating President Donald Trump at the ballot box. “I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Bloomberg writes in the first line of his open letter explaining his candidacy that is up on his new campaign website.

Bloomberg is coming out of the gate swinging and has made the single largest one-week expenditure on campaign advertising in history. The former mayor released his first ad on Sunday that promotes the job he did in New York while also promising “to rebuild the country and restore faith in the dream that defines us: where the wealthy will pay more in taxes and the middle class get their fair share; everyone without health insurance can get it and everyone who likes theirs, keep it; where jobs won’t just help you get by but get ahead. And on all those things, Mike Bloomberg intends to make good.”

Although Bloomberg, who is worth an estimated $54.1 billion, is not shy about using his wealth to get ahead in the campaign, the campaign ad spends time talking about how he had a middle-class upbringing. The narrator points out that Bloomberg “had to work his way through college” and built his business from “a single room to a global entity.” That message is clearly meant as a contrast to Trump, implying that just because the two are wealthy men doesn’t mean they’re similar.

Despite the clear advantage that his wealth brings to the contest, Bloomberg also “faces immense obstacles” to winning the Democratic nomination, notes the New York Times. Those obstacles include his “own political baggage that includes a complex array of business entanglements, a history of making demeaning comments about women and a record of championing law enforcement policies that disproportionately targeted black and Latino men with invasive searches.” The former Republican also faces the difficult task of convincing Democrats that he is one of them even though he has switched party registration several times in his life.

For now though, Bloomberg seems to believe he can overcome those obstacles by skipping the early voting states and focusing his resources on Super Tuesday. Bloomberg’s aides believe that the Democratic contenders have been so focused on Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada that they’ve overlooked the 15 states that vote on March 3.