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While Senator Bernie Sanders remains the frontrunner in the polls, billionaire Mike Bloomberg is quickly becoming the odds-on choice for many pundits who see his vast money advantage as insurmountable. He is flooding Super Tuesday states with more ad dollars every week than most candidates can muster throughout the entirety of their campaigns. He also seems to have the DNC quietly backing him with former Vice President Joe Biden falling apart.
Sanders isn’t giving up. He’s finally talking about Bloomberg in terms that go beyond the general anti-wealth Marxist talking points. He’s calling him out as not only an “evil” billionaire but also someone who has put all of his eggs into the Super Tuesday basket, shunning Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
"And in the midst of his $60 billion he says, 'you know, I used to be mayor, kind of retired now, I know what I'd like to do. I'd like to become POTUS…Well I got news for Mr Bloomberg,and that is the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections" #NVCaucus pic.twitter.com/8aPNIdhwtV
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) February 16, 2020
“Hey guys, how do you buy the presidency? Well, you buy the presidency, at least he’s gonna try to buy the presidency, by spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads,” Sanders said. “I didn’t see Mike in Iowa…I didn’t see Mike in New Hampshire…hey you know what? I didn’t see him here in Nevada!”
Bloomberg’s strategy has two layers but both work from the same basic game plan. The first strategy is to try to win at least a plurality if not a majority of delegates before the convention. This means he’ll have to not only accumulate a ton of delegates on Super Tuesday but also hope the rest of the field split the remaining delegates between them. If it comes down to a two-man race too early, Sanders’ grassroots popularity may be too much for even Bloomberg’s billions to overcome.
His second strategy, which is the most likely scenario, goes into effect if he doesn’t have a plurality and nobody has a majority going into the convention. In that scenario, he presents himself as the one who defeat President Trump in a contested convention. This is one of the reasons he’s spending so much money, more than he really needs in order to do well on Super Tuesday. He’s signalling delegates that after the first round of voting, they should support him because he’s rich enough to defeat the President while also freeing up DNC dollars to focus on down-ballot races.
Are Democrats really going to embrace a super-wealthy old white guy as their savior? This seems more and more likely, but Bernie Sanders isn’t giving up without a vicious fight. Meanwhile, Republicans are gobbling popcorn as it all unfolds.
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