Less than two months ago, Michael R. Bloomberg told a PBS interviewer that he probably couldn’t win a Democratic primary, and that entering the race as late as November would be “pretty hard.”
Well, it’s November now, and he seems to have changed his mind. Here’s a look at what happened on the campaign trail this week.
And then there were 18?
Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, filed paperwork on Friday to put his name on the ballot for the Democratic primary in Alabama.
According to his advisers, he has not definitively decided to run for president, but the paperwork was necessary to keep the possibility alive, because Friday was Alabama’s filing deadline. Arkansas and New Hampshire have deadlines next week, and Team Bloomberg says it plans to meet those, too.
If Mr. Bloomberg does enter the race, it will bring the Democratic field back to 18 candidates, the largest ever. For the past week or so, it was merely tied with the 2016 Republican field.
Here’s a rundown of primary filing deadlines.
The front-runner bull’s-eye is still on Warren
Mr. Bloomberg’s flirtation with running is part of a larger backlash to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s continuing strength in the race — and a vote of no confidence in former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s ability to unite moderate Democrats against her.
As she has cemented herself at or near the top of the polls, Ms. Warren has drawn particular vitriol from Wall Street, where some executives have already announced that they will support Mr. Bloomberg if he runs.
In a Medium post this week, Mr. Biden cast Ms. Warren as an “elitist” who takes a “‘my way or the highway’ approach to politics.” And Leon Cooperman, the billionaire investor who complained recently about what he called Ms. Warren’s “vilification of the rich,” endorsed Mr. Bloomberg.
Our colleague Katie Glueck has more on the conflict between Mr. Biden and Ms. Warren.
Representative Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts endorsed Ms. Warren on Wednesday, providing her most high-profile congressional endorsement to date.
Our colleagues Thomas Kaplan, Aliza Aufrichtig and Derek Watkins put together a detailed visualization of how Ms. Warren intends to pay for her plans.
A debate update
Thanks to six polls released since we last wrote, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has qualified for the next debate (Nov. 20), and Senators Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have qualified for the one after that (Dec. 19).
That means 10 candidates are in for November, and six so far for December.
We also learned this week that the December debate will no longer be held at the University of California, Los Angeles, because of a dispute between the university and its largest employee union. The union has called for a boycott of speaking engagements on campus. It will instead take place at Loyola Marymount University, also in Los Angeles.
You can always find the latest on debate qualifications here.
Trump is still competitive in swing states
While President Trump’s approval rating is very low, and he trails most of his potential Democratic challengers in national polls, he appears stronger in the states that will decide the election, according to a new set of polls from The New York Times and Siena College.
In the six closest states that went Republican in 2016, he trails Mr. Biden among registered voters, but is deadlocked with Senator Bernie Sanders and leads Ms. Warren.
You can read more about the polls here.
Speaking of battleground states, a progressive organization plans to spend $75 million on digital advertising to counter Mr. Trump’s early spending advantage in them. Our colleague Shane Goldmacher has the story.
A Steyer aide resigned
Pat Murphy, the Iowa political director for Tom Steyer, resigned after reports that he had offered campaign contributions to local Iowa candidates if they endorsed Mr. Steyer. The campaign said no contributions had actually been made.
“Our campaign policy is clear that we will not engage in this kind of activity, or any kind of communication that could be perceived as improper,” Mr. Steyer’s campaign manager, Heather Hargreaves, said in a statement on Friday announcing Mr. Murphy’s resignation. “Violation of this policy is not tolerated.”
Our colleague Stephanie Saul has more details on Mr. Murphy’s actions.
Sanders released an immigration plan
Mr. Sanders unveiled his immigration plan on Thursday, pledging to use executive action if Congress does not pass comprehensive legislation.
He said that on the first day of his presidency, he would reverse President Trump’s immigration policies, including the denial of asylum claims and the “zero tolerance” policy that has led to family separations. He also vowed to halt all deportations “until a thorough audit of current and past practices and policies is complete.”
More broadly, he called for ending deportations of people who have been in the United States for more than five years, creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, expanding the DACA program and making unauthorized immigration a civil, not criminal, offense.
Our colleague Reid J. Epstein has more details.
Mr. Sanders has been working hard to win over Latino voters, our colleague Jennifer Medina reports. He has raised more money than any other candidate from Latinos, and was leading among them in a recent set of New York Times/Siena College polls.
At a forum on Friday, Ms. Warren said she, too, was open to suspending deportations, “particularly as a way to push Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.”
In other policy news:
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey announced an economic justice plan centered on what he called the City 2030 Project, in which 50 or more small and medium-size cities would be chosen as regional hubs and given federal funding. The plan would also create a fund for communities hurt by policies like the 1994 crime bill; strengthen antitrust regulations and block some corporate mergers; and expand tax-privileged “opportunity zones.”
Former Representative John Delaney of Maryland released a “Paris 2.0” proposal that would commit members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and create a global institute for research on technologies that might mitigate climate change.
Ms. Warren outlined how she would support veterans and service members, pledging to raise service members’ pay, expand mental health services and eliminate the benefits backlog at federal agencies.
And finally …
Ms. Warren has wholeheartedly embraced attacks from Wall Street, and on Thursday, she took it one step further: Her campaign released a “calculator for the billionaires.”
“Some billionaires seem confused about how much they would pay under Elizabeth’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” it says. “Don’t worry, now we have a calculator for that too.”
The post Bloomberg Is In, Maybe: This Week in the 2020 Race appeared first on New York Times.