One of the big "X factors" in the Super Tuesday primaries -- which are underway today from coast to coast, and even among Democrats living abroad -- is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
He’s been a familiar name for decades, first as a highly successful businessman who created the Bloomberg Media empire, then as a billionaire philanthropist whose largess has been felt across a wide swath of society, from the arts and education to public health and the environment.
In 2001, on the heels of the 9/11 attacks, Bloomberg, who'd been a lifelong Democrat, was elected as a Republican to succeed Rudolph Giuliani as New York City's mayor. He self-financed two more successful mayoral elections in New York. He changed his party affliation to Independent in 2007. In 2012, Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama's re-election, and he supported Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign against Republican Donald Trump. Since last November 24th, when he announced his intention to run for president, he has spent an unprecedented half-billion dollars of his own money on a campaign to win the Democratic nomination for the highest office in the land.
So what can we surmise from looking at his career thus far about what a Bloomberg presidency would look like, if his long-shot bid for the nomination and an election match-up against Donald Trump succeed?
Eleanor Randolph is a veteran journalist who was a member of the New York Times editorial board for nearly 20 years, from 1998 until 2016, where she concentrated her attention on city and state politics, among other beats. She covered Mike Bloomberg before and throughout his tenure as mayor, and now she has written a comprehensive new biography, called The Many Lives of Michael Bloomberg.
Eleanor Randolph joins us live on the line from NPR studios in New York City. Listeners with questions or comments are welcome to join us as well.