The Holy Spirit of 2020: Mike Bloomberg
By Devyn Shea (TheLorian)
Rarely does a candidate drop out of a presidential race and still hugely impact the election. Some, like John B. Anderson, had run independent campaigns for President after they had lost the primaries, but none have contributed an ungodly amount of money to their former opponent. Mike Bloomberg is doing just that this year. Playing the game of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Michael R. Bloomberg was once the widely respected mayor of the largest city in America, New York City. As the Republican-turned-Independent mayor, he accomplished a decrease in poverty, he won victories regarding the city’s public health, and just overall transformed the city, mostly for the better. One negative side effect of his mayoralty was his stop and frisk policies towards minorities. Bloomberg was originally barred from serving more than two terms. In 2008, however, the city council had narrowly voted to put three terms as the limit. This opened the doors for Bloomberg to run again and he did, but contrary to previous elections, he was leaving the Republican party and running for mayor as an Independent.
Earlier in the year, many people were advocating Bloomberg to run as an independent for president. Polls had shown him in double digits against potential Democratic and Republican candidates. In 2012, he was asked again to run for President as an Independent, he declined. In 2016 the final push to get him to become an independent candidate for president arrived. He openly looked into it. A man who looks at the facts and statistics found through his insider polling that it was not possible to mount a successful third-party challenge. Later in the year, he endorsed Hillary Clinton and gave an energy driven speech at the Democratic National Convention.
In 2018, he helped fund congressional campaigns to put moderate Democrats in congress and to take back the house. He helped fund 24 congressional campaigns, spending roughly $80 million. Out of the 24 candidates, 21 won their races, according to the New York Times. Mike Bloomberg had helped take back the house. This gave him more credibility for a potential run for President in 2020. When he changed his voter registration from an Independent to a Democrat, many saw that he was preparing for a Democratic run for the Presidency. He met with voters in New Hampshire and spoke at Democratic events where many candidates were at. In March, however, he announced he was not running. As the number of candidates surged and then steadily declined after the start of the summer, he still reaffirmed his position in September. He was not running. After multiple poor debate performances by Joe Biden, however, Bloomberg looked at the data, something he often does. He saw that there was an opening for a moderate candidate in the race. In Nov., he filed paperwork to be on the ballot in Arkansas. He had said he hadn’t decided if he would run, but he wanted to be prepared in case he did.
Michael Bloomberg announced his candidacy, highlighting that he was the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump. At the time, his net worth was roughly $60 billion and he wasn’t taking donations. He had stated he was skipping the first four states and playing in Super Tuesday and on. From Nov. to Feb., Bloomberg quickly rose from single digits to the top four candidates. After Bernie Sanders’ success in the first three states, Bloomberg rose to second place behind the Senator from Vermont himself. Biden had dropped to third in most polling averages shortly before the South Carolina Primary. Bloomberg was banking on a most likely contested convention and a poor performance by Joe Biden. Bloomberg himself had won one precinct in New Hampshire, as well as nearly 2% of the vote in a state he wasn’t even on the ballot in.
Days before the South Carolina, Jim Clyburn endorsed Joe Biden, giving him a surge in the much needed state. On election day Biden won huge. Polling averaged from FiveThirtyEight, 270towin, and RealClearPolitics showed that Biden was at 38%, he received 48.7% on election day. This gave him a big boost for Super Tuesday, as well as the endorsements from Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. This surge in polling diminished Bloomberg’s prospects as he was dependent on a poor Biden performance. On election day many voters had bailed on Bloomberg and supported Biden. He received 59 delegates and dropped out shortly after his loss. He endorsed Biden and pledged to help him win.
Now Michael Bloomberg is spending $100 million just in Florida. Bloomberg has paid fines for roughly 30,000 ex-felons, so they can vote in this year’s election. Republicans in Florida are saying Bloomberg is trying to buy votes and what he is doing is illegal. People in favor of Bloomberg’s acts say he is doing what is right. Florida voted to give the right to vote back to felons who had served their time for nonviolent offenses. Republicans in Florida put a $1,000 fine for those felons to get their right to vote back, knowing that many couldn’t afford the fine. Florida is a neck and neck race. Polling in 2016 showed Clinton with a slight lead but on election day she lost. In 2018, the state had a U.S. Senate and Governor race, both were won by less than a percent by Republicans. Florida is a neck-and-neck state, but Republicans recently have come out on top. This year, Bloomberg hopes to prevent a Republican win in Florida. A state that very much might decide the fate of this election.