Bloomberg decides against independent 2016 bid, afraid of boosting Trump, Cruz campaigns

"Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, appealed to our 'better angels.' Trump appeals to our worst impulses," Bloomberg wrote in a column announcing his decision Monday.
By Doug G. Ware   |   March 7, 2016 at 8:21 PM
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NEW YORK, March 7 (UPI) -- Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that he won't seek the White House with an independent campaign -- largely out of fear it might lead to the election of either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

Bloomberg announced the decision in a column in the Bloomberg View, titled, "The Risk I will Not Take."

The former New York mayor cited multiple reasons for his deciding against a bid to succeed President Barack Obama.

"Many Americans have urged me to run for president as an independent, and some who don't like the current candidates have said it is my patriotic duty to do so," Bloomberg wrote. "I appreciate their appeals, and I have given the question serious consideration.

"When I look at the data, it's clear to me that if I entered the race, I could not win," he continued. "I believe I could win a number of diverse states -- but not enough to win the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win the presidency."

It has been speculated for weeks whether Bloomberg might launch an independent bid. Some analysts believed such an effort might do more harm than good within the Republican party, while others stated opinions that a Bloomberg bid probably wouldn't impact the party's candidates.

Democratic party official Debbie Wasserman Schultz said last month that a Bloomberg run would be "unnecessary."

Another reason, Bloomberg wrote, is the prospect of helping nominate one of two GOP candidates whom he opposes -- Trump and Cruz -- who are the party's top two contenders, according to polling data.

"As the race stands now ... there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience," Bloomberg wrote.

"I have known Mr. Trump casually for many years, and we have always been on friendly terms. ... But he has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember," the former mayor continued. "Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, appealed to our 'better angels.' Trump appeals to our worst impulses."

His assessment of the conservative Texas senator wasn't much better.

"Senator Cruz's pandering on immigration may lack Trump's rhetorical excess, but it is no less extreme. His refusal to oppose banning foreigners based on their religion may be less bombastic than Trump's position, but it is no less divisive," he wrote.

"I love our country too much to play a role in electing a candidate who would weaken our unity and darken our future -- and so I will not enter the race for president of the United States."

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