Meet the Candidates: Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg, Former NYC Mayor and Billionaire: Depending on who you ask, Bloomberg is “best known” for different reasons. Some know him for serving three terms as mayor of New York City, switching from Republican to Independent along the way. But, he was a Democrat before running for mayor, and supported Clinton in 2016 after becoming a leader of various progressive causes — especially the climate crisis and gun violence prevention. Others identify Bloomberg as the founder of Bloomberg LP, the finance/software/media company that helped him achieve the status of eighth richest person in the United States. He is funding his entire campaign personally and not accepting private donations, which is why he has not qualified for any debates…yet (see: “Critics say” below). Bloomberg is running as a moderate alternative to the more progressive candidates.

Gun Reform: Bloomberg has a long, successful track record of supporting common-sense gun reform. In 2013, he founded the gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety and continues to back it, and is also a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. In the 2018 midterm elections, Bloomberg invested $112 million in 24 pro-gun-reform Democratic candidates, and 21 of them won. His extensive policy proposals include universal permits and background checks, red flag laws, closing the “boyfriend” loophole, banning assault weapons, funding community intervention and public health research, and much more.

Climate Change: Tackling climate change is Bloomberg’s other major platform and he’s got a similarly strong history to back up his proposed presidential plan. He created and funded the American Cities Climate Challenge to help 25 individual cities execute innovative, localized projects to reduce carbon production. Beyond Carbon is his foundation’s movement to close coal plants (replaced with green energy projects), pass progressive state and local policy, elect climate advocates to office. If elected, Bloomberg has committed to ending all fossil fuel subsidies and placing a moratorium on any new fossil fuel production on federal lands, aiming for 80% clean electricity nationwide by 2028 and replacing all coal plants with clean energy by 2030.

Healthcare: Bloomberg supports Medicare-as-a-public-option, paid for with premiums. His other plans include restoring the Affordable Care Act to Obama-era standards (removing Trump’s sabotage), and capping drug prices at 120% of other ‘advanced’ countries’ averages.

Housing: Bloomberg’s plans include the Greenwood Initiative, with a goal of creating 1 million new Black homeowners through down-payment assistance, enforcing fair lending laws, promoting bank accounts and credit score recognition, boosting affordable housing, and reducing the number of evictions. He also plans to tackle housing affordability and reduce national homelessness rates by 50% by guaranteeing vouchers to all spending more than 30% of income on housing, raising the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and using incentives to curb discrimination by landlords.

Critics say… For many, Bloomberg’s name is inexorably linked with his infamous NYC stop-and-frisk policy which led to the harassment of young Black and Latino men upwards of five million times during his tenure as mayor; although he’s recently apologized for it, many have noted that this apology only appeared as soon as he courted the presidency. There are also accusations of sexual harassment and lewd commentary about women, as well as plagiarism. Many feel he’s also being given special treatment. Although the DNC rules denied the debate stage to candidates of color like Cory Booker and Julian Castro (who have both since dropped out), the donation-rule has now been eliminated to clear the path for a white man with a lot of money.

And finally: As mayor of New York City, he tried to ban big sodas, but it was ruled unconstitutional. He did successfully get trans fats and smoking in bars and parks banned though.

For more information about Mike Bloomberg, visit the policies page on his website.