By Li Haidong Source:Global Times
Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, officially announced his presidential run on Saturday. As an influential figure in both politics and business, Bloomberg is definitely a force to reckon with.
To begin with, Bloomberg did not participate in the previous Democratic debates, but this may have little influence on his campaign, since he is already a famous public figure, who does not need to promote himself through debates. In turn, his influence has already laid a solid foundation for his campaign.
Second, Bloomberg’s enormous wealth is something far beyond the reach of other Democratic candidates, which means he can mobilize more resources for his campaign.
Third, Bloomberg’s goal to “defeat Donald Trump” is catching the attention of quite a few voters. Americans’ dissatisfaction with sitting US President Donald Trump has been growing. Trump is constantly troubled by multiple scandals and has to face the impeachment trial for the moment. All this will become hurdles for his presidential campaign. Besides, if the US economy gets more sluggish next year, his path toward a second term will be bumpier.
Fourth, Bloomberg has a good record as former mayor of New York City. Moreover, his current policies are relatively moderate and his proposals on certain issues seem rather constructive, which suits the mainstream. These will help him stand out.
Since Bloomberg has just entered the presidential race, his ranking among the Democratic candidates is unknown. But he is very likely to join the front-runners.
The current front-runners, such as former vice president Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, are either struggling with scandals, being questioned about their ages, or being too aggressive. Among them, there is no powerful candidate who can take on Trump. Bloomberg, with his moderate performance, may thus even win the Democratic primaries.
Bloomberg’s identity as a billionaire is inevitably connected with the Wall Street and US privileged class by some voters and his competitors. However, it will not necessarily hurt his campaign. What most rational voters care about is the candidate’s policy proposals. Being super rich is an asset for a candidate, rather than a liability. As long as his money is legal, little harm could be caused to his influence.
However, it is worth noting that there has not been a Jewish president in US history. Due to the complexity of religious issues in the US, Bloomberg’s Jewish identity may to some extent impact his presidential campaign. But how it plays out still remains to be seen.
From the perspective of his image, identity, background and previous remarks, Bloomberg is not a typical Democrat. Therefore, it is hard to say if the majority of Democratic supporters would support him. Media may also make it difficult for Bloomberg due to his previous racist and sexist comments. Will all this damage his campaign? It depends on his public relations.
Bloomberg running for president can increase the possibility for the Democratic Party to come back to power. All the current Democratic contenders have significant drawbacks, and it is difficult for nationwide voters to unanimously decide on a single nominee. Bloomberg could be the one who meets the standard. His participation in the presidential election can not only help promote Democrats’ introspect, but also make the Democratic Party more competitive.
Compared with Trump, Bloomberg has fewer scandals attached to his name and a better record in politics, and he has a good reputation in business. It is still too early to say if he can represent the Democrats to compete with Trump, but one thing is for sure – Bloomberg has the capability, resources, experience, quality and potential to run for the presidency.
The author is a professor with the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University. [email protected]