In Depth

What went wrong for Michael Bloomberg?

Past policies and scandals came back to haunt the big-spending candidate

Michael Bloomberg has dropped out of the 2020 US presidential race after splashing at least $409m (£313m) of his own money in a bid to become the Democratic Party’s nominee.

Following a tough Super Tuesday, the former mayor of New York said: “Three months ago, I entered the race for president to defeat Donald Trump. Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason.”

Reaction has been dominated by commentary about Bloomberg’s huge campaign budget. “All those hundreds of millions of dollars were spent for a win in American Samoa,” says The Guardian, referring to his only win in an area 6,000 miles from US mainland.

“In Virginia... 56% of primary voters viewed him unfavourably,” writes the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher. “Hundreds of millions of dollars in slick television adverts and glossy mailers won’t do any good if voters don't trust you.”

Fox News goes in hard, with Greg Gutfeld writing: “Bloomberg spent millions per delegate, all to convince people he was better than Trump. If you see some portly dude with a toupee buying everyone at the bar drinks, you can bet he’s a campaign consultant. Bloomberg’s loss is his new Porsche.”

CNN says Bloomberg’s downfall began at the 19 February debate in Las Vegas. “His support for tough policing tactics as mayor of New York City, along with lewd remarks he’d allegedly made to employees at his company, gave Bloomberg’s opponents ample fodder for attacks,” writes Dan Merica. “And other candidates, led by Elizabeth Warren, seized on it.”

Bloomberg had “dismissed scrutiny of his past treatment of women saying those who’ve stepped forward with allegations of workplace harassment simply ‘didn’t like a joke I told’”, says The Guardian.

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The New York Post blames Bloomberg’s “stony face, ironbound certainty that he is always right and his gargantuan ego”, saying all three were “distilled in that stunning moment during his first debate when the mask slipped and he blurted that he had bought the current Democratic majority in the House”.

Bloomberg has said he will now endorse Joe Biden, who restored his status as favourite on Super Tuesday.

Final word goes to Donald Trump. Taking to Twitter, the US president said: “Mini Mike Bloomberg just ‘quit’ the race for President. I could have told him long ago that he didn’t have what it takes, and he would have saved himself a billion dollars, the real cost.”

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