On November 24, 2019, Michael Rubens Bloomberg announced his formal entrance into the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential primary. To date, he is the latest candidate to enter the primary field.
Michael Bloomberg served three full terms as mayor of New York City, from 2002 through the end of 2013. He was New York City’s mayoral successor of the failed 2008 Republican presidential candidate and current private attorney for President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani. Bloomberg is also the co-founder, CEO, and majority owner of financial services conglomerate Bloomberg L.P., which is perhaps best known for its flagship Bloomberg Terminal hardware. As of November 2019, Bloomberg’s net worth was estimated at $58 billion dollars, which makes him one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. He has been a prolific donator to various charitable and political causes.
Born in Boston in 1942, Bloomberg has degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School. A registered Democrat earlier in his career, Bloomberg actually ran for and successfully sought the New York City mayoralty office as a registered Republican before re-registering as an independent in the midst of his second mayoral term. He re-registered as a Democrat in 2018. Since joining the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary field, Bloomberg News — an international news outlet operating as a legal subsidiary of Bloomberg L.P. — has announced that it will not journalistically investigate Bloomberg or his fellow 2020 Democratic Party primary campaign rivals.
Electoral History: Bloomberg’s only experience in elected office is his three terms as New York City mayor. In 2001, shortly following the 9/11 jihadist attacks, Bloomberg sought to replace outgoing Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a fellow Republican and defeated his Democratic opponent, Mark Green, by a 50.3%–47.9% margin. In 2005, Bloomberg once again ran as a Republican and was re-elected by a nearly 20-point margin over his opponent, Fernando Ferrer. In 2009, after having successfully lobbied the New York City Council to change its mayoral two-term limit to a three-term limit, Bloomberg was narrowly elected to a third mayoral term while running as a Republican Party-endorsed registered independent.
On The Issues: Bloomberg’s general political profile is that of a fiscal and national security centrist, although he positions himself far to the left on social issues — with his anti-gun advocacy perhaps emerging as the political issue with which he has become most closely identified. The latter stages of Bloomberg’s mayoral tenure were marked by odd flirtations with nanny state-style progressive governance, with the infamous “soda ban” as the most prominent example. Furthermore, in terms of hot-button leftist issues, Bloomberg’s current 2020 presidential campaign is aggressively advertising his commitment to combatting global warming. But on bread-and-butter issues pertaining to fiscal prudence and foreign policy — perhaps especially with respect to Israel and the Middle East — Bloomberg is generally far more centrist than most of his other primary opponents.
Constitution: Bloomberg’s career in the financial services industry and his tenure as New York City mayor provide little in the way of concrete guidance as to what he may believe about constitutional interpretation and judicial philosophy. However, following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Bloomberg expressed support for “chang[ing]” prevailing constitutional jurisprudence so as to allow for easier mass domestic surveillance. His far-left stances on most cultural issues might also portend a belief in leftist “living constitutionalism.” Similarly, his nanny state governing proclivities likely augur in favor of an expansive view of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause — a provision that has justified decades of progressive economic regulatory overreach, going back to the New Deal.
Economy: Bloomberg has self-described as a fiscal conservative, pointing to his balancing New York City’s budget as his most supportive data point. Bloomberg may indeed be fiscally conservative to the extent fiscal conservatism means cutting deficits and balancing budgets, but his mayoral tenure and public statements also evince a willingness to raise various taxes toward achieving those ends. Bloomberg is also a firm proponent of free trade and opponent of protectionist policies. Out of all the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, it is possible that no one better personifies the decades-long post-Reagan/Clinton bipartisan neoliberal economic consensus than Bloomberg.
Health Care: Bloomberg’s nanny state governing tendencies, as best seen with the now-infamous “soda ban,” are perhaps most evident in the health care context. Despite his self-identification as a fiscal conservative, then, Bloomberg has long demonstrated a willingness to extend the reach of government to regulate both health care and the health of those citizens under his governing watch. His 2020 presidential campaign now emphasizes the pursuit of universal health care, and how “expanding Obamacare and Medicare is the best way to achieve universal coverage.”
Immigration: Bloomberg has previously been very critical of border hawks who call for deportations of illegal aliens, suggesting a personal view that mass amnesty is proper. To that end, he was supportive of the U.S. Senate’s failed 2007 “comprehensive immigration reform” push, which included amnesty for millions of illegal aliens as one of its underlying goals. As mayor of New York City, Bloomberg was fairly lax on immigration enforcement and largely shirked meaningful steps to crack down on illegal immigration plaguing the city. His current campaign website hails Bloomberg’s erstwhile formation of “pro-immigration organization New American Economy,” and he is generally seen as a staunch advocate of large-scale legal immigration.
Foreign Policy: Bloomberg assumed the New York City mayoralty in the near-term aftermath of the 9/11 jihadist attacks, and he is generally considered to be more hawkish on foreign policy and national security matters than most of his 2020 Democratic presidential rivals. He previously supported the PATRIOT Act, was an initial supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and publicly endorsed President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign at the New York City-hosted Republican National Convention in 2004. Bloomberg is much more pro-Israel than most of his 2020 Democratic rivals: In 2014, when President Barack Obama oversaw a temporary U.S. flight ban to Israel amidst the jihadist rocket fire that rained down on the Jewish state that summer from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Bloomberg personally flew to Israel solely to demonstrate to his fellow Americans that it was safe to do so. In September 2019, Bloomberg conducted an odd interview on the issue of China, in which he defended Chinese Communist Party strongman Xi Jinping against charges that he is a “dictator.”
Abortion: Bloomberg is emphatically pro-abortion.
Guns: Bloomberg’s anti-gun advocacy is perhaps the single most defining issue of his recent private citizen activism — and perhaps the single most defining issue of his 2020 presidential bid. He is very closely affiliated with and has helped fund Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, which are both groups deeply hostile to Second Amendment rights. He also co-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns while he was mayor of New York City. Bloomberg supports “universal” background checks, which often serve as a rhetorical euphemism for the government serving as an intermediary in all private firearms transfers. Bloomberg believes that every gun owner should need a permit before making a gun purchase. He supports a ban on the undefinable sub-class of firearms referred to as so-called “assault weapons” — a line of thought that, if taken to its logical conclusion, could lead to the banning of all semi-automatic firearms in America.