Billionaire Mike Bloomberg tries on economic populism

The Democratic presidential primary is turning billionaire Mike Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men, into an economic populist.


Gone are the strident defenses of the rich for their contributions to the economy, and the spats with working-class unions that came to sculpt Bloomberg's public persona during his three terms as New York City mayor. In their place, the businessman whose extreme wealth has allowed him to circumvent some of the traditional rigors of campaigning is making assertions that sound more like Bernie Sanders than Wall Street’s defender in chief.


"It’s a recognition of how the discourse in the Democratic Party has changed since Bloomberg was in office, and even since the last election," said New York-based Democratic consultant Neal Kwatra, who is unaffiliated with any presidential campaign. "Rhetorically at least he sounds a lot more progressive. He sounds a lot more like [Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist] Bill Gates than he does [billionaire private equity pioneer] Stephen Schwarzman right now.”


“[It’s] also a recognition that if he’s going to be a part of a conversation, that he has to be aligned where the party’s priorities are,” he said.


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