After filing paperwork to qualify for the Alabama primary last week and flying to Arkansas on Tuesday to formally enter that state’s primary, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg filed federal papers Thursday, officially entering the 2020 presidential race.
“I can’t change history,” Bloomberg told a black church congregation in Brooklyn. “However today, I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong.”
Stop-and-frisk, as almost anyone could have predicted, was disproportionately enforced against people of color. It also was ineffective, with 90 percent of stops found people following the law, according to a federal ruling in 2013.
Bloomberg joins fellow billionaire Tom Steyer in the race as a largely self-funded candidate, but with an estimated net worth of $54.4 billion, according to Forbes, which dwarfs Steyer’s estimated $1.6 billion, Bloomberg is by far the richest candidate in the field.
But, even if he spends gobs of his money on his presidential bid, will Bloomberg resonate with Democratic voters at a time when wealth inequality is at its worst and with a popular candidate like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) painting a target on their back with her wealth tax, which, incidentally, is favored by voters? Could Bloomberg actually manage to resonate with the black voters who are the backbone of the Democratic party? It seems unlikely. For someone with a whole lot of money, there are a lot smarter things you could do with it than waste it on a long-shot presidential race.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), for one, does not welcome Bloomberg as an addition to the field. “I guess you don’t have to have town meetings, you don’t have to talk to ordinary people,” Sanders said of a Bloomberg run. “What you do is you take out, I guess a couple of billion dollars, and you buy the state of California.”