Billionaire business magnate and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had previously said that he was considering running for president, announced on Monday that he will not launch an independent bid for the U.S. presidency in 2016.
“When I look at the data, it’s clear to me that if I entered the race, I could not win. I believe I could win a number of diverse states — but not enough to win the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win the presidency,” he said in an op-ed published Monday on Bloomberg View.
He added, “In a three-way race, it’s unlikely any candidate would win a majority of electoral votes, and then the power to choose the president would be taken out of the hands of the American people and thrown to Congress. The fact is, even if I were to receive the most popular votes and the most electoral votes, victory would be highly unlikely, because most members of Congress would vote for their party’s nominee. Party loyalists in Congress — not the American people or the Electoral College — would determine the next president.”
He said that he fears that his “candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz.”
Bloomberg characterized the biggest problems facing Americans as “wage stagnation at home and our declining influence abroad.” The former independent New York City mayor criticized the divisive rhetoric of the 2016 presidential race and complained that the “current presidential candidates are offering scapegoats instead of solutions.”
“The leading Democratic candidates have attacked policies that spurred growth and opportunity under President Bill Clinton — support for trade, charter schools, deficit reduction and the financial sector. Meanwhile, the leading Republican candidates have attacked policies that spurred growth and opportunity under President Ronald Reagan, including immigration reform, compromise on taxes and entitlement reform, and support for bipartisan budgets,” he said, blasting both major political parties.
Though Bloomberg did not specifically criticize any Democratic presidential candidates by name in his op-ed, he tore into Donald Trump, attacking the real estate tycoon’s stated positions on immigration and international trade. Bloomberg also called GOP Sen. Ted Cruz “no less extreme” than Trump.
According to The New York Times, Bloomberg’s announcement marks the conclusion of “months of intensive preparation” for a 2016 campaign that never was, complete with “several dozen strategists and staff members,” campaign offices, and television commercials already in production.
Before he made his decision not to run, Bloomberg had reportedly been considering asking retired U.S. Navy Admiral and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen to serve as his running mate.
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