Former New York City mayor and perennial potential US presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has identified something bigger than his ambitions or bank account: the need to defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election.
With that in mind, Bloomberg declared on Monday (Jan. 28) that he will not run for president as an independent, as he considered doing in 2016. In a statement posted to his website and on Twitter, Bloomberg was unequivocal about his decision to forgo a spot on a third-party ticket—and suggested, not so subtly, that other billionaires considering a bid for the Oval Office do the same.
“It’s no secret that I looked at an independent bid in the past. In fact I faced exactly the same decision now facing others who are considering it,” Bloomberg wrote. But the data, and the realities of the electoral college system, told him there is “no way an independent can win.” He continued:
In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President. That’s a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can’t afford to run it now.
We must remain united, and we must not allow any candidate to divide or fracture us. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
It’s hard not to read the statement as a direct rebuke to Howard Schultz. On Sunday, three hours after joining Twitter and tweeting his desire to “share his truth,” the Starbucks founder and former CEO revealed that his truth is he’d like to be president.
I love our country, and I am seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent.
— Howard Schultz (@HowardSchultz) January 28, 2019
By the time of Bloomberg’s statement, some 37,000 people had replied to Schultz, most of them urging the executive to drop the bid for precisely the vote-splitting reasons Bloomberg laid out. Schultz expressed a desire for people to “come together;” in this case, it appears they have.
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