Is Michael Bloomberg’s Entry into the 2020 Race a Sign the ‘Billionaire Class’ is Scared?
Bloomberg’s entry reflects a growing fear among billionaires that Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Sen. Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic primary and enact higher taxes if elected president.
The New York Times reported on Friday that former New York mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg is preparing to enter the 2020 Democratic primary, the latest reflection of the Democratic donor class’ growing fear that a progressive will win the nomination.
“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated. But Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that,” said Bloomberg’s advisor Howard Wolfson. “Based on his record of accomplishment, leadership and his ability to bring people together to drive change, Mike would be able to take the fight to Trump and win.”
When asked about Bloomberg’s potential entry into the contest on Friday, Trump dismissed the former mayor as someone who has “got some personal problems” and who may “spend a lot of money” on a campaign, but “he will not do very well.” The 77 year old businessman is worth approximately $52 billion.
It is unclear what “personal problems” Trump was referring to, but Bloomberg’s history as a socially liberal, fiscally conservative multi-billionaire is bound to clash with the Democratic party’s progressive shift. Bloomberg has compared wealth taxes to the policies in Venezuela, holds close ties with Goldman Sachs, and served as the “architect of the paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street protesters,” saying in 2011 that “it was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis,” as per the American Prospect’s David Dayen.
“He’s not going to do well but I think he’s going to hurt [former Vice President Joe] Biden actually,” Trump told reporters. “There’s nobody I’d rather run against than little Michael.”
The New York Times views Bloomberg’s entry as a “grave and instantaneous threat” to Joe Biden, who has been struggling to fundraise and hold a solid lead over his progressive competitors Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The American Prospect’s David Dayen argues that “this strengthens the hand of Sanders and Warren” by peeling votes of centrists Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.
As the Washington Post’s Michael Kranish wrote in January, the two billionaires enjoyed “a relationship of political and business convenience if not genuine friendship” for over a decade, until President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign split them apart.
Bloomberg’s entry reflects a growing fear among billionaires that Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Sen. Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic primary and enact higher taxes if elected president. Numerous Wall Street Democrats have said they will sit out of the race or back Trump if Warren is nominated.
“The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared,” tweeted Sanders on Friday, apparently referring to Bloomberg.