New York City
Could a former NYC Mayor govern the country the way he did the city? Should he?
The Bloomberg Factor
Prior to 2016, if there was a poster child for the rich guy seeking political office without prior experience, arguably, it would have been Mike Bloomberg. Bankrolling his own campaign, the billionaire media mogul essentially steamrolled into City Hall on the coattails of Rudy Giuliani’s post 9/11 popularity and forged a three-term administration in a city that limits its political leaders to only two.
This week, according to the Times of London, Mike Bloomberg plans to make a serious run for the Oval Office in 2020 as a Democrat hoping to send President Trump packing for Mar a Lago for good. In today’s volatile political atmosphere, and given the mayor’s vocal opposition to much of the administration’s policies, this announcement should surprise absolutely no one, but the question of whether Bloomberg can be embraced widely by the broader American electorate, let alone win the Democratic nod to run, remains largely uncertain.
While it’s true that the mayor of the nation’s largest city luxuriates in a high profile political position, and is provided with a bully pulpit in matters of policy beyond the city itself, no New York City mayor has ever ultimately occupied the White House as the leader of the free world. Despite this, it would be unwise to use history as the barometer for how anything happens in American politics today.
Despite running as a Republican in 2001 as a candidate for mayor, Bloomberg arguably governed from the center-left. He was notably more socially liberal than his predecessor, while maintaining some of Giuliani’s practices, particularly relating to crime and fiscal matters. A warm embrace from either major party was never in the mix while he was in City Hall, making his transition from Republican to Independent seem most natural.
Governing a city like New York takes unusual chutzpah, but it’s unclear whether a man who managed to win three terms in office here can do the same thing as President. After all, successful city management stems policy that applies to the specific needs of a city (ie. crime, law enforcement, homelessness, business incentives, etc.). Something that works at a local level, may be difficult to implement on a national level.
With the Democratic Party struggling to come to terms with its own definition (Socialist vs. Not-So-Socialist), is there a place for someone like Mike Bloomberg who embraces many of their key issues (gun control, climate change, gay marriage, etc.), yet has arguably more pro-Capitalist convictions? It’s difficult to say, but Democratic nominee or not, Mike Bloomberg’s voice during the 2020 race will undoubtedly be heard. How effective it will be remains to be seen.