Though he was the most recent to enter a still-crowded Democratic field for president, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has quickly created the perception that he is a frontrunner. He has done this with an entirely self-funded campaign that has gained attention for headline-generating strategies like teaming with popular meme aggregators on social media.
Bloomberg’s late entrance into the race kept him from appearing on the ballot in the four early primary states, but he will be on the ballot in states that vote on Super Tuesday, when over one-third of the 2020 delegates are awarded.
Bloomberg’s first appearance in the Democratic debates, on February 19, was notable for the widely perceived beating he took on issues related to women, especially from Senator Elizabeth Warren, his rival in the race and a member of the party’s progressive wing.
Bloomberg’s business and political career
Michael Bloomberg made his fortune well before entering politics. Born in Boston, he attended John Hopkins University and Harvard Business School before being hired at Salomon Brothers, a Wall Street investment bank in 1966. In 1981, Bloomberg was laid off from Salomon Brothers. He then went on to form Bloomberg LP, a financial securities company that focused on information technology.
Today, he remains the CEO of Bloomberg LP, which has an annual revenue of nearly US$10 billion. Bloomberg’s net worth is currently valued at US$59.4 billion, which places him at eighth on Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world.
In 2002, Bloomberg, then a Republican, was elected mayor of New York City. He was reelected twice, serving a total of three terms before stepping down in 2013.
Bloomberg utilized the same technological focus as mayor of the largest city in the US that he had brought to investment banking.
On November 24, 2019, Bloomberg announced that he was “running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America.” He launched his campaign as a Democrat.
Much of the focus his presidential run has received has focused on Bloomberg’s decision to entirely self-fund his campaign. Bloomberg has also gained attention for a series of sponsored social media posts that forced Facebook and Instagram to update their policies on political advertising.
With his late entry into the campaign and his trolling of Trump, there hasn’t been a great deal of media focus on Bloomberg’s policy proposals. His campaign website, however, features point-by-point policy plans for dozens of issues.
The website says Bloomberg will “make tackling climate change one of his highest priorities” once he takes office. That puts him in line with 85% of Democratic voters who say “protecting the environment” should be a top priority for the next president. Bloomberg also promises to cut carbon pollution in half by 2030 and guide America towards the use of 100% clean energy.
With regards to most other issues, Bloomberg appears to align with the majority of Democratic voters. That includes promising to reverse Trump’s military transgender ban as well as passing a ban on assault weapons.
In terms of health care, Bloomberg is aligned with the moderate wing of the party, supporting a public option, as opposed to the more progressive Medicare for All that rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support. He’s also vowed to expand the Affordable Care Act, which passed under President Barack Obama.
The website also discusses Bloomberg’s Greenwood Initiative, which is intended to ensure “economic justice for Black America” through a mix of economic and social policies. However, Bloomberg has taken considerable heat for the “stop-and-frisk” policy he oversaw as mayor of New York City.
That policy, which has been roundly criticized as racist, involved police officers routinely accosting black and Latino people on the street. The practice saw a dramatic uptick under Bloomberg.Bloomberg also has a record of making comments widely regarded as racist, including saying that an “enormous cohort of black and Latino males… don’t know how to behave in the workplace.”
Bloomberg and women
Many pundits agreed that Bloomberg’s first appearance in a Democratic debate, in Las Vegas on February 19, did not go well. That was partially due to rival candidate Elizabeth Warren, who challenged the billionaire CEO on his past issues with women.
Bloomberg has been accused of discriminating against women at his company, including settling lawsuits related to alleged misconduct. As Warren discussed during the debate, an unknown number of female employees at Bloomberg LP have signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) allegedly related to the behavior of Bloomberg or other employees at the company.
Bloomberg has said he will release three of the women from their NDAs, all three of which apparently relate to inappropriate comments he made to them.
His comments about women have led to Bloomberg comparisons to Trump, who has had his share of negative press regarding comments he’s made to and about women.
Bloomberg’s personal life
In 1976, Bloomberg married Susan Brown while at Salomon Brothers. Together, they had two daughters, Georgina and Emma Bloomberg. Georgina Bloomberg, 37, is the founder of the New York Empire, an equestrian team, and is a philanthropist.
Emma Bloomberg, 40, is an American Business Personality. Since late 2014, she has worked as Chief Executive Officer at Murmuration Company. Sharing the family’s philanthropic streak, Emma was also Chief of Staff at the Robin Hood organization.
Michael Bloomberg and Susan Brown divorced in 1993, though, according to an interview conducted in 2001 with Emma, the pair remain “best friends.”
Bloomberg met Diana Taylor in 2000 but both have said marriage won’t be in the cards.