Bloomberg sets up battle of the billionaires

All guns blazing: Bloomberg says he is “taking the fight to Trump directly”.

Can he beat Donald Trump? Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has finally stepped into the crowded presidential race. Supporters say he has the money and credentials to get under Trump’s skin.

As he announced his long-rumoured entrance into the presidential race on Sunday, 77-year-old billionaire Michael Bloomberg had his sights set firmly on Donald Trump.

“We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He represents an existential threat to our country and our values,” said Bloomberg. “If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.”

Bloomberg, who has served three terms as mayor of New York, is making a late appearance in a crowded field of candidates for the Democrat Party nomination.

With an estimated $54.1 billion (£46bn) in the bank, Bloomberg’s fortune dwarfs Trump’s $3.5 billion (£2.7bn) net worth. Most of his money comes from the financial news company that bears his name.

What kind of candidate is Bloomberg? Most commentators see his as a centrist alternative to Joe Biden, whose campaign has floundered in recent weeks.

Bloomberg’s priorities include expanding health insurance and fighting the climate crisis. He has spent at least $300 million (£233m) of his own fortune fighting for increased gun control.

But he is also a friend of Wall Street, which critics say leaves him out of touch with ordinary voters.

Is this the person who can beat Donald Trump?

Wolf of Wall Street?

He alone has the track record to go up against Trump: rebuilding New York City after the 9/11 attacks; improving education and health, and investing millions in the causes he believes in. Non-partisan and with a business background that’s more successful, Bloomberg has the resources to take on Trump, and very possibly beat him at his own game.

But many doubt he will ever get that far. Bloomberg’s early polling is weak, amid claims that he doesn’t offer anything new. “I just don’t think there’s a hunger for Michael Bloomberg in a Democratic primary,” says political consultant Rebecca Katz.

You Decide

  1. Will Trump be re-elected next November?

Activities

  1. Write down five qualities required in a good president. Do you think Bloomberg has these qualities? Does Donald Trump?

Some People Say...

“I am not smarter than anybody else, but I can outwork you.”

Michael Bloomberg, US businessman, author and politician

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Bloomberg’s campaign will skip the first round of state votes in February in favour of focusing on “Super Tuesday” when 15 states head to the polls on 3 March.
What do we not know?
Whether Donald Trump will finally release his tax returns. The question will soon be decided by the Supreme Court, the USA’s highest court. Unlike Trump, Bloomberg has willingly released his tax returns since he became mayor of New York in 2002.

Word Watch

77-year-old
Donald Trump is 73; Elizabeth Warren 70; Joe Biden 77, and Bernie Sanders 78.
Unethical
Morally wrong.
Existential
To do with the big questions about the meaning of life and human existence.
Floundered
Struggled. Last weekend, The New York Times reported that Biden is struggling in the key state of Iowa thanks to a “spotty campaign”.
Wall Street
An area of New York City that forms the heart of its financial district.
Non-partisan
He switched from the Democrats to Republicans between 2001 and 2007, and remained an independent for 11 years before re-joining the Democrats in 2018.

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