It’s the type of numbers one would expect to see in October of an election year, not one week in November the year before. But as billionaire Michael Bloomberg seeks to make an immediate splash in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination, the former New York City mayor has purchased an astronomical $37 million ad buy for the first week of his campaign alone. To put it into perspective, that’s more than Joe Biden has raised in TOTAL since launching his campaign.
The other candidates aren’t pleased by it. In fact, Bernie Sanders is disgusted.
“I’m disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any other billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy our elections,” Sanders said in a statement. “It’s just the latest example of a rigged political system that we are going to change when we’re in the White House.”
“If you can’t build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president.” he continued. “The American people are sick and tired of the power of billionaires, and I suspect they won’t react well to someone trying to buy an election.”
Unfortunately for Sanders, it’s likely to work. Democrats are so desperate for someone with the ability to beat President Trump to emerge from the crowd that a show of strength like this is likely to inspire rather than turn off many voters. They see in Bloomberg a common sense candidate, one who won’t try to take people off their current health insurance plan. But that’s how they’ll feel today without knowing a whole lot about the candidate. Their views may change as more is learned about him.
One thing that is currently in Bloomberg’s favor is his attachment to the climate change movement. Fighting climate change is an issue approved by most Democrats, though not necessarily a top issue outside of the “treehugger” crowd. Bloomberg may be able to appeal to the masses with an environmental plan that is aggressive without being too radical. Of course, that could change quickly, especially when people realize he’s so out of touch with what other countries, especially China, are doing in regards to combating climate change.
There are certain types of American progressives who defend China’s Communist Party. Some are “scholars” as American academia has always had an infatuation with tenets of Karl Marx and the prospects of a dystopian utopia. Others are radicals who hate America and everything it represents to the point they adore our antithesis on the other side of the world. There are even a few elitists who embrace authoritarianism as the only way to make sure they’re protected from the rest of us… as long as they’re in control. Democratic candidate for president Michael Bloomberg doesn’t easily fall into any of these categories on the surface, but once we dig a little deeper we see he has a little of all three in him.
He’s not your traditional socialist or authoritarian like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. After all, he’s extremely rich and as a member of the corporate oligarchy in America, he takes a slightly different angle to achieve his goals of gun confiscation and climate change hysteria. He hides it well. But he lets his guard down at times, as egomaniacs invariably do occasionally. One such occasion happened a couple of months ago during an interview by Margaret Hoover for Firing Line.
The other challenge for Bloomberg will be his pet project: Gun control. On the surface, this seems like something that will appeal heavily to Democrats. But since all of the candidates support some degree of gun control, Bloomberg’s radical activism may be a turnoff, especially to those who are looking for someone who can appeal to middle-American Independents. His gun confiscation agenda will not play well in Ohio, Michigan, or anywhere other than the coasts. And unlike Beto O’Rourke and Eric Swalwell, he’s not just a firearms blowhard. He’s spent considerable money and efforts on imposing gun control and installing anti-2nd-Amendment politicians around the country. One can argue he was the driving force behind Virginia’s legislative flip to Democrats earlier this month.
As Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wage their war against billionaires, Bloomberg would seem to be a ripe candidate for their attacks. But he doesn’t fit their standard model for opposition despite his riches. He’s viewed as a fiscal moderate by most, but has worked on wealth redistribution schemes that act as precursors to socialism. He champions a public option, Medicare expansion, and building on Obamacare much like his fellow “moderate,” Joe Biden.
Currently, his website is short on policy proposals, latching onto his substantial record to demonstrate his credentials rather than promises. But in doing so, he’s also being very ambiguous about his plans on topics like the border crisis and even (oddly enough) the economy. It could just be too early, but I doubt it. Bloomberg is a calculating man, data-driven, and the notion that he doesn’t have plans yet is highly unlikely. He has plans, but he’s keeping them close to the vest for now. It will be interesting to see him answer questions about specifics. He’ll likely avoid them to remain as vague as possible.
Will his ad buys be enough to inject him into the race this late? Conventional wisdom says yes, but this is a very different Democratic Party than just three years ago. Big spending may equate to contempt. We’ll soon see if that feeling resonates.
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