Ending months of speculation about an independent bid for the White House, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this afternoon he would not run for president.
In an piece published in Bloomberg, the media company he founded, Mr. Bloomberg lashed out at his fellow New York billionaire, the Republican front-runner Donald Trump, accusing the real estate mogul of running “the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears.”
“Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, appealed to our “better angels.” Trump appeals to our worst impulses,” Mr. Bloomberg wrote.
Mr. Bloomberg conceded what political observers long understood: a path to victory was narrow to nonexistent and could have aided the radical candidates he reviled. He also tore into Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, an immigration hardliner and perhaps Mr. Trump’s top rival, for saying he would bar foreigners based on their religion.
“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 wrote, adding if he somehow ensured no candidate reached the number of electoral votes needed, the decision would be thrown to the Republican-controlled House which could guarantee a Trump or Cruz victory.
“As the race stands now, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience,” he added.
Mr. Bloomberg reportedly was interested in entering the race if Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist, overtook Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner. But with Ms. Clinton holding a commanding lead in delegates, Mr. Bloomberg likely didn’t want to run the risk of damaging a Clinton White House bid. Mr. Bloomberg is a former Democrat and Republican but on most issues he resembles a centrist Democrat. Given the populist mood of the electorate, it was never apparent there was a hunger for a fiscally conservative, socially liberal big city mayor with far more money, and less swagger, than Mr. Trump.
Mr. Bloomberg said he wasn’t willing to endorse any candidate yet.
“I am not ready to endorse any candidate, but I will continue urging all voters to reject divisive appeals and demanding that candidates offer intelligent, specific and realistic ideas for bridging divides, solving problems, and giving us the honest and capable government we deserve,” he wrote.
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.