Billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday officially announced he is entering the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, launching a $30 million ad blitz in which he presents himself as "jobs creator" and a "middle class kid who made good."
"Mike Bloomberg started as a middle class kid who had to work his way through college, then built a business from a single room to a global entity," states the narrator of an ad Bloomberg tweeted Sunday morning.
Bloomberg, a former Republican whose estimated net worth is over $54 billion, said he believes his "unique set of experiences in business, government, and philanthropy will enable me to win and lead."
The businessman's ad does not mention specific policy proposals or rival 2020 Democratic candidates, but the short video does take a thinly veiled swipe at Medicare for All.
"There's an America waiting to be rebuilt, where everyone without health insurance is guaranteed to get it and everyone who likes theirs can go ahead and keep it," the ad states, echoing a common insurance industry talking point against single-payer.
I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America.
I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government, and philanthropy will enable me to win and lead.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) November 24, 2019
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Ahead of his official announcement, Bloomberg's expected entry into the 2020 race drew sharp criticism from progressives, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), presidential contenders who have both taken aim at the wealth of billionaires like Bloomberg with their tax proposals.
On Friday, Sanders expressed disgust at Bloomberg's $30 million ad purchase.
"If you can't build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president," Sanders said in a statement. "The American people are sick and tired of the power of billionaires, and I suspect they won't react well to someone trying to buy an election."
And on Saturday, Warren tweeted:
Mike Bloomberg is placing $34 million in TV ads in one week—the most of any presidential candidate in history.
That’s one way to pay less under my #WealthTax. Because in a Warren administration, he and his billionaire friends would finally have to pay their fair share. https://t.co/qWHtk37zaM
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 23, 2019
As Common Dreams reported last week, progressives have warned that the candidacies of Bloomberg and former private equity executive Deval Patrick represent a last-ditch effort by the wealthy donor class to maintain control over the Democratic Party.
"We've got two super-rich guys who are scared to death that a progressive's going to win the primary and then win the general," Charles Chamberlain, chairman of progressive group Democracy for America, told Politico. "This is about fear of victory, not fear of loss."