Mike Bloomberg’s Independent Presidential Bid Challenges Democrat Leaders

Independent Presidential Bid 

Challenges Democrat Leaders

Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D. 

Michael Bloomberg, who served three terms as mayor of New York City, is actively exploring a run for the presidency.  His entry into the race has the potential of dramatically altering an already chaotic campaign season, and could have a lasting effect on U.S. politics for years after.


Unlike prior third party candidates, he stands a substantial chance of producing a successful effort. Similar to Trump, Bloomberg can afford a self-financed campaign, and he has made it known that he could commit up to a billion dollars to finance a run for the White House.


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a news conference at City Hall in New YorkThe 73 year old billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist would run as an independent, a position he has experience in.  A Democrat and lifelong supporter of causes many would identify as leaning towards the left, he nevertheless first ran for NYC’s top spot as a Republican, later changing his registration to independent.


As mayor, Bloomberg governed essentially as a mid-century liberal.  He raised taxes more than any of his predecessors, reduced the size of the police force, and pursued a variety of nanny-state goals such as attempts to prohibit certain outlets from selling large-size soda drinks.  He sought to impose tolls on private vehicles traveling from residential sections of the city to the main business district, and imposed traffic rules that some labelled bizarre. On the other hand, he avoided large and expensive leftist programs, and worked to balance the budget. He also broke with  the traditional hard-left, progressive pandering to the public school bureaucracy, and had some success in bringing the notoriously self-indulgent NYC school system (which places the needs of unions ahead of that of students) under at least limited control.


All of which positions him as something the nation has not seen for some time, a traditional Democrat, despite his periodic affiliation with both Republican and independent registration. The hard-left, pacifist, neo-socialism of the current leadership of the Democrat Party has left many wondering whether America’s older political party has abandoned its core membership.


In many ways, Bloomberg’s entry into the race, even though he would do so as an independent, could be seen as a referendum on the future of the Democrat party. There is little resemblance of traditional Democrat values reflected in the current extremist, progressive-oriented party leadership. Unlike Democrat icons FDR, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy, the pacifist defense policies of the party’s current power brokers tends to disregard very real national security concerns.  Bloomberg is also more pro-Israel, which could also reassure supporters of America’s strongest Mideast ally that, unlike Obama and Clinton, they still had a sympathetic ear to turn to.


That, of course, leads to a fascinating speculation.  One of the original contenders for the Democrat nomination this year was James Webb, a former Democrat senator from Virginia. Webb is a far more traditional Democrat than any of the current candidates for the party’s nomination. He is generally considered an advocate of a strong defense policy.  In his own words, his candidacy pursued “a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us. We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process. Our elected officials need to get back to the basics of good governance and to remember that their principal obligations are to protect our national interests abroad and to ensure a level playing field here at home, especially for those who otherwise have no voice in the corridors of power.” Should Bloomberg decide to join forces and establish a Bloomberg-Webb ticket, many Democrats currently ignored by their party’s pacifist leadership could find a candidacy to support.


Bloomberg might also attract those frustrated with the depressed state of employment growth. Despite the needs and interests of union members, who have been bedrock supporters of Democrat candidates, the environmental and international trade policies of Obama, Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley harshly disregard the need for employment security and wage growth for working men and women. West Virginia coal miners and pipeline construction workers across the nation have been particularly hard-hit.


The former Mayor may also have an appeal to minority voters. Ironically, considering that Mr. Obama is the first African American president, the support of black voters for the Democrats has been severely tested by party policies, particularly in the area of immigration.  The current White House tolerance for illegal immigration has hit inner city minority youth with particular severity, as they face massive competition for entry-level jobs from those entering the nation unlawfully, eager to take those starter positions at salaries below that which native-born youth would find acceptable.


Bloomberg would have to make a decision no later than March to move ahead with a campaign.


Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government

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