Michael Bloomberg Inching Closer To A 2020 Run For President

Michael Bloomberg is flirting with the idea of running for President in 2020. He's done this before, of course, but this time he seems far more serious.

Michael Bloomberg is once again talking about running for President in 2020:

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and billionaire owner of a business news network, hinted at a possible 2020 presidential bid in a new interview.

“I am focusing on Nov. 6 and then I’ve said, you know, a few months later I’ll take a look at it and see,” Bloomberg said in an interview with CNN released Monday.

“I’m trying to go to as many places as I can in this country and talk to people and see what’s on their mind and understand whether I think with my experience I could help them get where they want to go and then try to convince them that I’m the right person for it,” the former mayor continued.

“But at this point it’s that I don’t like the word exploratory but I am trying to focus on Nov. 6,” Bloomberg, who re-registered as a Democrat earlier this month, added.

A source told the British newspaper the Times last month that Bloomberg planning to run as a Democrat in 2020.

“Mike Bloomberg told me he is going to run in 2020,” a source told the Times. “He has the money to see it through while other candidates knock themselves out.”

Bloomberg, now 76, has been unwilling to rule out a run in recent interviews, and previously considered presidential runs in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Bloomberg told CNN in the Monday interview that he would continue to mull over running in the 2020 election even if former Vice President Joe Biden jumps into the race.

“I have a case to present, if I’d like to present it,” Bloomberg said. “And if the public likes it, that’s fine, and if they don’t, that’s what freedom of choice is.”

Here’s the video of Bloomberg’s remarks:

As noted above, this isn’t the first time that Bloomberg’s name has been part of Presidential speculation. He’s been mentioned as a potential candidate stretching at least as far back as the 2008 Presidential election, and then again in both 2012 and 2016. In all of those cases, though, that speculation centered around the idea that he would run as an Independent candidate in the General Election rather than seeking the nomination of either the Democratic or Republican parties. While most of that was mostly just speculation, Bloomberg apparently did come close to mounting such an Independent bid in 2016 but ultimately decided not to run in no small part because Hillary Clinton ended up winning the nomination of the Democratic Party and appeared to be a likely winner in a head-to-head race with Donald Trump. This time, things would be different. Not only has Bloomberg changed his voter registration from Independent to Democrat, but he has also been heavily investing in Democratic candidates around the country in a way that he has not done in the past. In addition to being a reflection of his change in party registration, this is arguably a sign of his effort to increase his potential influence and position inside the party in preparation for a run in 2020 should he decide to run.

Bloomberg’s biggest advantage as a candidate, of course, is the fact that, not unlike President Trump, his vast wealth could mean that he’d be free to mount the kind of campaign that could make him at least appear to be a contender for being an A-list candidate rather than just another also-ran. Additionally, his successes as Mayor of New York City and as a businessman would seem to make him a credible candidate notwithstanding the fact that he has never run for Federal office before. At the same time, though, the end idea of a Bloomberg candidacy seems to be little more than the fantasy of a small group of people:

[T]he entire idea of a Bloomberg candidacy seems to begin and end within a few blocks in Lower Manhattan. Unlike the Perot phenomenon in 1992 and 1996, there’s no evidence that American have some great yearning to be led by a short, sometimes grumpy, billionaire from New York City. In fact, I’d bet that large numbers of Americans don’t really know who Bloomberg is. He may be the Mayor of America’s largest city, but he has a far lower public profile that Ed Koch or Rudy Giuliani did during their time in office. Moreover, where exactly would Bloomberg be popular enough to have a significant impact on the election? I don’t see many of the New Yorkers who voted from him three times in a row crossing lines to vote for him instead of Obama, for example. And Michael Bloomberg isn’t going to play well in Peoria. As I said last year, the only place I see any yearning for a Bloomberg candidacy is in the New York-Washington corridor among the punditocracy, for whom the idea of an all-knowing East Coast Technocrat in the White House seems to be very appealing. Or maybe it’s just that they idea appeals to them because it would give them something interesting to write about.

That comes from a post I wrote six years ago when the talk of a Bloomberg independent bid was a big deal within what has been referred to as the “Acela Corridor” between New York City and Washington, D.C., and it seems to apply as equally then as it does now. Additionally, there’s the not insignificant fact that Bloomberg is 76 years old and would be 78 by the time the 2020 campaign began. While it’s unclear if age really matters all that much to voters when you add into the equation the fact that Bloomberg could end up joining a bunch of other septuagenarians — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, President Trump, and perhaps even Hillary Clinton — in the Democratic primary fight, it’s not clear how welcome he’d be in the race.

Additionally, it’s unclear where exactly Bloomberg would fit in the Democratic Party of 2020. For the most part, this is a man who identifies most prominently as someone in the center of American politics, possibly leaning to the center-left to some extent, but most assuredly not a “progressive” in the sense that Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders are part of that wing of the party. He also has associations with Wall Street and the financial world that might not be comfortable for many Democratic activists. It’s also unclear where he fits in on issues that have become important to Democrats in recent years such as health care, education, and others. Given this, even if he does spend a lot of money on a race in 2020 one has to wonder if Democratic voters will buy what he’s selling.

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Gustopher says:

    If he wants to run for the Democratic nomination, I’m all for it. It’s a big party, there’s plenty of room to the left of Republicans these day.

    He wouldn’t be my first choice for the nomination, but he’s qualified (mayor of New York is roughly the same scale as governor of many states, and a very vibrant, diverse state). He’s fine on social issues.

    He’s old, and we don’t know where he stands on health insurance. He’s a bit of a technocrat.

    He’s a bit aloof. During a transit strike (subway? taxis?) he suggested that people go out, get a bike, and just bike to work — and then bought a several thousand dollar bike as a prop. He ended up giving it away.

    He frequently did not stay at the mayors residence, citing his desire for privacy. His explanation was roughly that he was a single billionaire, and being watched all the time would cramp his style. I’m not sure he’s prepared for the privacy issues of being president.

    I don’t know how his bemused aloofness will play in the rest of the country. Most of our modern comedy comes from the Jewish tradition, though, so why not Bloomberg?

    And, as a former Republican he will get a wider range of people looking at the Democratic Party during the nomination cycle.

    (These people may then realize that he was only a Republican because the Democratic Primary for mayor was too crowded, and he figured he could buy his way into the Republican nomination, compromising on a few things that didn’t matter to him, and move straight to the finals)

  2. JKB says:

    Bloomberg, Hickenlooper? That’s an all in for gun control on the Dem side. Gonna need to do away with that Electoral College to get close.

  3. Kylopod says:

    Three words: stop and frisk.

  4. James Pearce says:

    While it’s unclear if age really matters all that much to voters when you add into the equation the fact that Bloomberg could end up joining a bunch of other septuagenarians — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, President Trump, and perhaps even Hillary Clinton — in the Democratic primary fight, it’s not clear how welcome he’d be in the race.

    It’s almost like an entire generation of credible candidates doesn’t even exist. We have the olds, 2nd string non-Clintons, and the youngs, rookie post-Clintons, but nothing in between.

  5. Tyrell says:

    @Gustopher: “Iron” Mike wants more gun control for the American people. While he goes around in a bulletproof limo surrounded by private guards with automatic guns.
    He wants to control soft drink sales while enjoying $40 martinis for lunch.
    Certainly not a friend of the middle class working people.