Former New York City mayor cites Donald Trump or Ted Cruz’s possible win as reasons
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that he will not make a run for the White House.
In announcing his decision, Bloomberg said he was motivated by fears that a run as an independent candidate could result in the election of fellow billionaire Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“That is not a risk I can take in good conscience,” he wrote in a column on his Bloomberg View website.
He said Trump “has run 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,” he said.
Referring to the real estate mogul’s announcement that he would bar Muslims from entering the U.S., Bloomberg said that the call “is a direct assault on two of the core values that gave rise to our nation: religious tolerance and the separation of church and state”.
He added that Cruz’s “pandering” on immigration “is no less extreme”.
“His refusal to oppose banning foreigners based on their religion may be less bombastic than Trump’s position, but it is no less divisive,” he said.
A three-way race would likely result in no single candidate gaining the 270 electoral college necessary to win the election, thereby throwing the election to Congress, he wrote.
“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,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg’s decision ends months of speculation on whether he would join the presidential election.
He previously hinted that he would self-finance his campaign to the tune of $1 billion, and reportedly set a mid-March deadline to determine the feasibility of his third-party candidacy.
The 74 year-old has vacillated in the past between America’s two major parties changing affiliations from Democrat to Republican to Democrat again before becoming an independent.
In his announcement column, he warned that extremism on the campaign trail is on the rise.
“Extremism is on the march, and unless we stop it, our problems at home and abroad will grow worse,” he said. “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.”