Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that he will not run for president as an independent, in a move that would have roiled this year’s already extraordinarily unpredictable presidential campaign.
The billionaire, who has spent months mulling an independent campaign, made his decision official through an editorial posted by the Bloomberg View yesterday.
“There is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz,” Bloomberg wrote. “That is not a risk I can take in good conscience.”
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Bloomberg was blistering in his critique of Trump, saying the real estate mogul has run “the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears.”
He was similarly critical of Cruz, saying the Texas senator’s “pandering on immigration may lack Trump’s rhetorical excess, but it is no less extreme.”
Bloomberg made only an oblique reference Democrats Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders and did not endorse a candidate.
The former three-term mayor who had indicated he’d have spent USD 1 billion of his own money on the run had set a mid-March deadline for his team of advisers to assess the feasibility of mounting a run, believing that waiting longer would imperil his ability to complete the petition process
needed to get on the ballots in all 50 states.
Those close to the process said Bloomberg had believed the dominance of Donald Trump among Republicans and the rise of Bernie Sanders amid Democrats had opened a centrist lane for a non-ideological, pragmatic campaign. But Hillary Clinton’s string of recent victories has given her a firm grip on the lead for the Democratic nomination and is blocking Bloomberg’s possible path, aides to the mayor said.
The decision concludes Bloomberg’s third and likely final flirtation with a White House run, a possibility that had grown popular among New York’s business class and, the mayor’s aides had believed, could have resonated with moderates and independents across the nation dissatisfied with the
polarisation in Washington and the rise of the political parties’ fringes.
Aides to Bloomberg, the 74-year-old Democrat-turned- Republican-turned-Democrat-turned independent, have said their own polling suggested that Bloomberg had a viable path to the needed 270 electoral votes if Trump, whom had disgusted the ex-mayor with his inflammatory rhetoric, and Sanders were the nominees.