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Michael Bloomberg’s unlikely presidential candidacy

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MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, the former mayor of New York, announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on November 24th, scoring a rare triple. Mr Bloomberg has run for office as a Republican, as an independent and now as a Democrat. In a country where voters often claim to want bipartisanship but usually vote for the opposite, this is risky. Mr Bloomberg has pitched himself as a counter-weight to left-wingers such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who he says are “not well-positioned” to defeat President Donald Trump next November. He has outlined an ambitious, leftish policy agenda while disavowing Medicare for All, the signature health-care proposal on the left of the party. Mr Bloomberg might yet become the Democrats’ pick for the White House, but the odds are slim, and his campaign will first have to overcome a problem: voters dislike him more than any of the current candidates for president. He is even more unpopular than Donald Trump.

There much to like about the idea of Mr Bloomberg in the White House. He has executive experience and, unlike the president, is a self-made entrepreneur. He won the mayorship of New York City as a Republican in 2001. Mr Bloomberg’s tenure is perhaps best remembered for his support of a policy known as “stop-and-frisk”, in which New York police liberally stopped residents to search for weapons and contraband. This was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court because, as practised, it was a form of racial profiling. But his mayorship was otherwise a success. Since leaving office he has launched campaigns on gun control and climate change.

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