Following a collapse of expected support in the Super Tuesday primaries, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed the newly re-crowned frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden. A multi-billionaire, Bloomberg spent well over $500 million of his own money on his last-minute bid for the Oval Office.
A moderate Republican-turned-independent before joining the Democratic Party in 2018, Bloomberg for years has used the largesse of his over $60 billion fortune to fund favored candidates for office and political issues. Of these, two of his largest causes have been environmentalism and gun control.
Fearful that the Democratic Party was moving too far left, and doubtful that the 2020 race had a moderate candidate who could prevent the nomination of a progressive like Senators Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, Bloomberg announced his entry in late November.
Refusing to take outside donations, Bloomberg self-financed his campaign, throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into television advertisements and campaign workers to create in three months what it had taken his competitors a year to build. Skipping the first four contests, Bloomberg focused his efforts on Super Tuesday, where he planned to make enormous gains in delegate allocation.
The first snag in this plan, after leaked audio statements caused media controversy, came when Bloomberg stopped running a parallel campaign to his competitors and joined them on the debate stage in February. In what was widely panned as one of the worst debate performances in the history of American presidential politics, Bloomberg was wholly unprepared to face the attacks on his record and personal statements by the other candidates. His approval ratings among Democratic voters, never healthy to begin with, dropped precipitously.
Following Joe Biden’s enormous victory in the South Carolina primary, and the subsequent departure of and endorsement by Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, the air was taken out of Bloomberg’s raison d’etre for running. If Biden was a viable anti-Sanders candidate, “Why Bloomberg?” asked voters.
Out of fourteen states, Bloomberg only reached delegate viability in five, and didn’t perform better than third place. His only victory was in the territory of American Samoa, where he won 50% of the vote; 175 votes total, to be precise.
“I’m a believer in using data to inform decisions. After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists,” Bloomberg said in a released statement. “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”
Bloomberg has previously pledged that he would use the infrastructure created by his campaign and possibly a billion dollars of his own wealth to support the eventual Democratic nominee and defeat Donald Trump.
Hunter DeRensis is a senior reporter for the National Interest. Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis.