Neither Michael Bloomberg nor Tom Steyer will be the Democratic nominee for President. The latter is still struggling to get a tiny degree of true name recognition and the former is so unlikable, he’s going to be more gaffe prone than Joe Biden if he’s ever given as much airtime. The will be adamantly opposed by the radical progressive wing who can’t abide by billionaires. It would take Joe Biden, Andrew Yang, and Pete Buttigieg all dropping out around the same time early on for Bloomberg to emerge as the favorite.
Nevertheless, they’re doing their best to buy the nomination. The amount of money the two, especially Bloomberg, are spending on ads in Super Tuesday markets is absolutely mind-blowing.
They entered the race late, but the two billionaires seeking the Democratic nomination are making up for lost time.
Together, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg have poured nearly $200 million into television and digital advertising alone, with the former New York mayor spending an unprecedented $120 million in the roughly three weeks since he joined the presidential race. That’s more than double the combined ad spending of every single non-billionaire candidate in the Democratic field this entire year.
“We’ve never seen spending like this in a presidential race,” said Jim McLaughlin, a Republican political strategist who worked as a consultant for Bloomberg’s mayoral bids in New York. “He has a limitless budget.”
Is it working? Not yet. It’s still early, but the clock is ticking. Steyer needs to make an impact in one of the early states to show he’s viable and both need to win on Super Tuesday on March 3 to demonstrate the message they’re buying is making an impact. But the early lack of movement in the polls is concerning; Bloomberg is averaging 5% in national polls and Steyer is at an abysmal 1.5%.
They’re having an effect, though. By flooding the markets with ads, they’re hogging up precious space for other candidates to get their message out. It’s inundating prospective voters who can only take so much political advertising before they start shutting it out. The way this race has been going, it’s easy to imagine going into Super Tuesday with a full ballot of candidates still hanging around, which bodes ill for any of the top tier candidates trying to run away with it.
A long primary means more money spent fighting each other and less money to turn towards the general election. That sits just fine with Trump supporters who would love to see the primaries drag all the way out to mid-summer around convention time.
On behalf of the GOP, I’d like to thank the Democratic billionaires in the race who are running so many ads, the people are starting to tune them out. Let’s hope they keep going until their funds or appetite are depleted.
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