Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has officially entered the Democratic race for President.
The former New York City Mayor made the announcement on Sunday, stepping into a crowded field with 17 other major candidates. But with a history of crony capitalism on Wall Street, not everyone is fond of the newcomer.
Upon entering the race, the philanthropist embarked on a record-breaking advertisement blitz. He purchased $33 million worth of television advertisements in one week – more than any other presidential candidate has spent over seven days.
The news became a lightning rod for criticism from the socialist-wing of the Democratic Party.
In a statement, Bernie Sanders said he was “disgusted by the idea” that people could “circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy our elections.”
Elizabeth Warren also lambasted the billionaire during a campaign stop in Iowa on Monday. During the event, Warren said:
Think about it this way, [Bloombergs] view is he doesn’t need people who knock on doors, he doesn’t need to get out and campaign with people, he doesn’t need volunteers, and if you get out and knock on 1,000 doors, he’ll just spend another 37 million dollars to flood the airwaves, and that’s how he plans to buy the nomination in a Democratic Party.
In addition to spending his way to victory, Warren suggested the move could be an attempt by Bloomberg to pay less under her proposed wealth tax.
So how much would Bloomberg pay if Warren became President in 2020? Let’s break down the numbers.
According to Elizabeth Warren’s tax calculator for billionaires, Bloomberg would pay $3.163 billion next year.
But Bloomberg’s tax bill could end up being larger than that.
According to Forbes, Bloomberg is the ninth richest person in the world, boasting a net worth of $54.1 billion. Warren’s calculator reaches the figure of $3.163 by underestimating Bloomberg’s wealth at $53.4 billion.
Regardless of the final bill, Warren doesn’t think the Wall Street billionaire should be concerned by her tax. A statement on her website reads:
Don’t worry too much about Mike Bloomberg – if history is any guide, if billionaires do nothing other than invest their wealth in the stock market, it’s likely that their wealth will continue to grow.
Bloomberg contributes to making the Democratic race one of the most diverse and crowded in history.
He fits into the moderate Democratic box: He supports expanding Obamacare and medicare, passing laws aimed at tackling gun violence, and rapidly working towards a clean energy economy.
But progressive Democrats will be concerned that his policies don’t go far enough. They will also worry about a billionaire nominee making the party appear disconnected from ordinary, working-class voters.
Bloomberg is 17 times richer than President Trump, who is worth $3.1 billion according to Forbes. This is astonishing considering that Trump boasts more wealth than all other 44 Presidents combined.
Bloomberg would have difficultly framing Trump as serving the rich, but he’d be able to compete on the airwaves.
Wealth aside, Bloomberg’s entry showcases the depth of division between the contestants. Warren and Sanders are campaigning to reign in billionaires and make the party more representative of ordinary people. Meanwhile, running for the leadership of the same party is one of the world’s richest individuals.
This isn’t just a race for who takes on Trump in 2020. It’s a race for the future of the Democratic Party.
Last modified: June 12, 2020 6:48 PM UTC