Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that he will not be running for president in 2016.
In a post on Bloomberg View, Bloomberg ended months of speculation that he would mount a third-party bid, saying his candidacy could inadvertently help elect Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz, both of whom he said were unpalatable options.
“We cannot ‘make America great again’ by turning our backs on the values that made us the world’s greatest nation in the first place,” Bloomberg wrote, taking a slight at Trump’s campaign slogan.
“I love our country too much to play a role in electing a candidate who would weaken our unity and darken our future – and so I will not enter the race for president of the United States,” he continued.
Writing on Monday, the former mayor repeatedly singled out Trump in his op-ed, noting that while he and the real-estate magnate were on “friendly terms,” Trump was “preying on people’s prejudices and fears.”
“He has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember,” Bloomberg wrote.
Bloomberg bluntly laid out the challenges he faced reaching the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure the presidency, pointing out that his bid could effectively prevent any candidate from reaching the threshold, thereby thrusting the decision upon the US House of Representatives.
“The fact is, even if I were to receive the most popular votes and the most electoral votes, victory would be highly unlikely, because most members of Congress would vote for their party’s nominee,” Bloomberg wrote. “Party loyalists in Congress — not the American people or the Electoral College — would determine the next president.”
Bloomberg has toyed with a run for months, telling advisers he would likely enter the race as a pragmatic centrist if Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders continued to succeed in the Republican and Democratic primaries respectively.
The former mayor appeared closer to formally taking the plunge into the race. As The New York Times reported, Bloomberg formally vetted Adm. Michael Mullen, the former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to serve as his potential running mate. He had also already cut a television ad aimed at introducing voters to the mayor.
Last month, Bloomberg told the Financial Times that he was “looking at all of the options.”
“I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters,” Bloomberg said then.
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