As he continues to mull a 2020 presidential bid, Michael R. Bloomberg, a former New York mayor and onetime Republican, said Monday that he thinks Democrats are looking for a “middle-of-the-road” strategy and want a president who would govern pragmatically.
During an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” Bloomberg offered nothing definite about whether he plans to run, saying he will think more seriously about it early in the new year. But his comments appeared to be an effort to distinguish himself from some of the more-liberal members of his party eyeing a presidential bid.
“I think most Democrats want a middle-of-the-road strategy,” Bloomberg said, after being asked whether he could navigate the Democratic nominating contests, which tend to draw the party’s more-liberal members. “They want to make progress, but they’re not willing to go and to push something that has no chance of ever getting done and wasting all their energy on that.”
Bloomberg ticked off several issues that he said demand immediate attention, including job creation, health care, education, immigration and gun control.
“If you go off on trying to push for something that has no chance of getting done, that we couldn’t possibly pay for, that just takes away from where we can really make progress in helping people who need help today,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg didn’t name anyone advocating a different approach, but his rhetoric stood in stark contrast to, for instance, that of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). During his 2016 bid for the Democratic nomination, Sanders repeatedly told audiences to “think big” and pushed for a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health-care system and free college tuition, among other bold ideas.
Bloomberg announced in October that he was registering to vote as a Democrat, a move that stoked further speculation about his White House ambitions. He had previously been registered as a Republican and more recently an independent.
Bloomberg also spent heavily on helping Democrats in the midterm elections and has taken several other steps consistent with someone eager to run for president, including a visit last week to Iowa, traditionally home to the first presidential caucuses.
Asked Monday whether he regretted not running for president in 2016 as an independent, Bloomberg said he would more likely have served as a spoiler than prevailed.
“That’s exactly what my obit would have been: ‘He was a spoiler,’ ” he said. “This way, they can write other things about me when I die.”