Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’s open to becoming the next independent presidential candidate. In a post on his website on Monday, he took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal to confirm that he’d met with New York billionaire and President Trump friend Carl Icahn and libertarian businessman Art Pope to discuss creating a joint, independent candidacy “to curb the damage he contends we’re seeing from the current two-party system.” The entry of a third-party candidate into the race would likely make the 2020 race one of the most expensive in American history. “While America is facing real problems,” he wrote, “it will be more difficult to solve them if we don’t solve the division between the country’s two major parties.” Since Icahn and Pope have indicated their own interest in the “independent” option, The Wall Street Journal reports, Bloomberg is expected to use their “convening power to raise money and hire professionals for a potential campaign.”

“Over the last few months, I’ve been in discussions with a variety of good people about a possible independent presidential campaign,” he wrote. “Although I’m not prepared to launch an independent campaign today, I’m hopeful that we can generate enough public interest over the next several months to give a third option for American voters.” If Bloomberg were to run, he’d bypass a standard primary process that, for the top contenders, is already facing an unprecedented number of competitors. Out of 646 eligible Democratic Party voters in New York City, just over 2,000 would allow him to qualify for a debate spot. Since Bloomberg announced that he would end his active run for office in 2014, he is still a private citizen with the following title: “Ambassador to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.” That title continues to exist, although he holds no actual title at the moment, nor do his actions in the position. Because of his involvement with a UN organization, he would not be technically eligible to run for president, but he’d still take the debate platform provided by the rest of the candidates, assuming he were able to garner enough support. He’d also have his own campaign staff, funds and staff, as well as a robust media presence on social media.

Despite all of the preparations, it is unlikely that he’d take this step — and possibly in the face of multiple elections — without at least some public appeal. He is currently taking questions from the public on his website, which he launched in March of 2018 in advance of the New York mayoral election. When the account launched, it’s creator, Nick Pariser, was cryptic about what exactly the post was there for: “Mayors are a microcosm of America. What do our cities look like, what do we need to fix them, what is our country broken, and what can we do to fix it?”

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.


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