Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he won't run for president in 2020, but will instead launch a new campaign called Beyond Carbon to continue advancing the causes he's already invested in.
In an editorial on Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg said many people have encouraged him to run and he has in fact thought about a possible presidential campaign.
"I know what it takes to run a winning campaign, and every day when I read the news, I grow more frustrated by the incompetence in the Oval Office," wrote Bloomberg. "I know we can do better as a country. And I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field."
Bloomberg has flirted with a presidential run before, but as an independent. He registered as a Democrat last fall and spent recent months courting primary voters as a political centrist. But as an older white man with strong ties to Wall Street, he likely would have struggled to win over the Democratic Party's energized liberal base that's increasingly embracing diversity.
Now Bloomberg said he believes he can effect more change by marshaling resources and organizing the initiatives he believes in.
"I’ve come to realize that I’m less interested in talking than doing. And I have concluded that, for now, the best way for me to help our country is by rolling up my sleeves and continuing to get work done," he wrote.
As part of that, Bloomberg plans to launch a grassroots effort called Beyond Carbon to begin moving America as a quickly as possible away from oil and gas and toward a 100 percent clean energy economy. He also wants to continue tackling gun violence, he said.
"Washington is unlikely to take effective action over the next two years," he wrote. "Progress depends entirely on the rest of us."
To that end, he said, he'll be supporting candidates who show leadership on the issues of climate change, gun violence, education, health, voting rights and other issues.
He also encouraged Democrats to unify behind a nominee who could beat Trump, a not-so-subtle dig against candidates pushing the party to embrace liberal priorities such as "Medicare-for-all."
"It's essential that we nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country back together," he wrote. "We cannot allow the primary process to drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election and translate into 'Four More Years.'"
Bloomberg invested more than $100 million to help Democrats in the 2018 midterm election; his team has quietly been preparing a data-driven effort to go much further in 2020. While the effort would have supported Bloomberg's presidential bid had he ran, it will now be used to help Democrats defeat Trump.
"I hope those who have urged me to run, and to stand up for the values and principles that they hold dear, will understand that my decision was guided by one question: How can I best serve the country?" he wrote.
"While there would be no higher honor than serving as president, my highest obligation as a citizen is to help the country the best way I can, right now."