Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg will speak at the Democratic National Convention this week to give his endorsement to presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.
Bloomberg was once a Democrat, but in 2000, he opportunistically registered as a Republican to avoid a crowded primary field while running for his first term as mayor. He later became an independent during his three-term tenure, and is best characterized as a technocrat rather than by a party affiliation. He has attacked politicians on both sides of the aisle on issues that deviate from his preferred stances. Bloomberg is a fierce advocate of gun control, which is a near-universal stance for Democrats, but also a backer of Wall Street’s prerogatives, which divided the party most notably during the primary race between Clinton and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. The New York Times first reported news of the endorsement today (July 24).
Bloomberg’s endorsement is a political coup for Clinton. Establishment Republicans, among them former George W. Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, have been lining up to support her campaign. But the former mayor is a different kind of endorser. As someone who has consistently stayed above the fray of party politics, his decision could be portrayed by the Clinton camp as a non-partisan stamp of approval.
That may all be true, but Bloomberg has already made clear his disdain for republican nominee Donald Trump, most notably by declining to run for president himself. In an op-ed on his Bloomberg View website, explaining his decision, he wrote, “has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears.”
In that light, Bloomberg’s endorsement seems like a perfectly logical extension of his rejection of The Donald’s political rise, and less surprising. Given that, it seems unlikely that Bloomberg’s endorsement will sway Trump supporters into the Clinton camp, though it could help galvanize moderate Republicans to cast a vote for her in November.