By Masood Farivar
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rejoined the Democratic Party on Wednesday, signaling an interest in running as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020.
The announcement came as the billionaire media mogul has emerged as a top financial backer of the Democratic Party during the pivotal 2018 midterm congressional races, pledging nearly $100 million to Democratic candidates and causes.
Bloomberg, the 76-year-old head of the eponymous Bloomberg LP media company, made the announcement in a post on Instagram. He took an indirect swipe at President Donald Trump and his Republican allies, who Bloomberg suggested posed a threat to U.S. democratic institutions.
“At key points in U.S. history, one of the two parties has served as a bulwark against those who threaten our Constitution,” Bloomberg wrote. “Two years ago at the Democratic Convention, I warned of those threats. Today, I have re-registered as a Democrat – I had been a member for most of my life – because we need Democrats to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs.”
Democrat / Republican
Bloomberg was a long-time Democrat until 2001 when he changed his party affiliation to run as a Republican candidate for mayor of New York . He won the race and served as a popular mayor of America’s largest city until 2014.
While in City Hall in New York, Bloomberg, who registered as an independent in 2007, was mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008. In 2016, he toyed with the idea of running as an independent presidential candidate, “but he decided it was too hard for an independent to be elected in our system,” said Martin Frost, a former House member from Texas and head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
“If he did (run as a Democrat), he’d be a formidable candidate,” Frost told VOA. “That doesn’t mean he’d automatically get the nomination and if he won the nomination, he’d be a strong general election candidate,” Frost said.
Other likely Democratic candidates for 2020 are former Vice President Joe Biden, progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Corry Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and self-styled socialist Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who made an unsuccessful run for the White House in 2016.
Abortion, same-sex marriage, gun control
A moderate on social issues, Bloomberg supports abortion rights, same-sex marriage and tighter gun laws. His non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund super PAC, Independence USA PAC, has spent millions of dollars during the current election cycle supporting Democratic candidates and opposing Republicans running as gun rights advocates.
In recent years, Bloomberg, who prides himself on his bipartisan streak,has backed both Democratic and Republican candidates. But in June, he announced that he’d support Democrats in the November elections, accusing Republicans of doing “little to reach across the aisle to craft bipartisan solutions.”
To that end, the former mayor announced that he’ll give a record $80 million to the Democrats to flip the House from the current Republican majority.That was followed by a pledge of $20 million made last week to the top Senate Democratic super PAC.
Sarah Bryner, research director at the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, said Bloomberg’s contributions put him “near the top if not at the top of donations this cycle.”