Can Bloomberg buy the US presidency?

There’s a very interesting analysis of election spending at Axios, titled “Bloomberg’s big bet on the power of money“.  (Click the image below for a larger view.)

 

Why it matters: Bloomberg is betting that enough exposure — through a $300m+ ad campaign and a non-traditional run that looks past the early four states — will make him competitive in Super Tuesday, and make all Democrats stronger in the general election.

  • He’s blowing through cash to create a parallel (or bigger) unofficial, uncoordinated party infrastructure in case the DNC can’t help the eventual Democratic nominee enough in states that should be competitive with Trump.

. . .

The big picture: Bloomberg’s campaign has repeatedly said its will spend “whatever it takes” to defeat President Trump. There’s nothing stopping Bloomberg from topping $2 billion.

  • With 2,100 paid staff, Bloomberg has three times as many as Trump, five times as many as Joe Biden and more than twice as many as Elizabeth Warren, according to data the campaigns provided to Axios.

. . .

By the numbers: In just over a month, Bloomberg spent more than the top 2020 contenders spent for the whole final quarter of 2019 combined, according to Federal Election Commission data. He also outspent the entire RNC and DNC.

. . .

Our thought bubble: The question is, will the anti-capitalist base of the Democratic Party reject a billionaire because of his very ability to self-finance, or could Democrats rally around the idea that it will take a billionaire businessman to beat Trump?

The bottom line: The American people are getting a lesson in how campaigns could be run if money were literally no object — and whether that’s enough to beat Trump.

There’s more at the link.

It’s an open question whether the radical wing of the Democratic Party will accept a less radical candidate, of course.  Last month, Steven Hayward had some interesting thoughts about that possibility.

Watching Bloomberg’s many long TV ads running out here in expensive California right now … prompts the thought that Bloomberg is setting himself up to run as an independent this year, especially if Sanders is the nominee.

. . .

If you’ve seen any of Bloomberg’s ads, they are sustained attacks on Trump, which look like general election ads. He doesn’t mention he is a Democrat. He may yet attack Sanders directly before Super Tuesday, especially if Sanders wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, but I am sure his thinking runs like this: Sanders (or Warren) would be a landslide loser to Trump, so it might well be possible for a well-funded independent to siphon up enough votes from disaffected Democrats, independents, and other reluctant Trump voters to win a close three-way race. Bloomberg has the resources to outspend Trump.

I am surprised that there hasn’t been any media speculation about this, or reporters asking  the Bloomberg campaign direct questions such as the one posed to Trump in 2016: Will you support the Democratic nominee, no matter who it is? Maybe there’s a reason Bloomberg, unlike Tom Steyer, isn’t interested in appearing in any of the primary debates.

Again, more at the link.

I don’t know what to think about the situation, because this is a new development in US politics.  The Citizens United decision kept the doors open to “big money” in political campaigns, but that was outside big money from donors.  It didn’t consider a candidate rich enough to spend billions of dollars of his own money, without needing donations at all.  Can such political spending sway an electorate that, until now, has thought in political party terms?  What about those who’ve become accustomed to voting a “straight ticket”?  If Bloomberg runs as an independent, and his name doesn’t appear on a party ticket at all, will that be a disadvantage for him?

Of course, the needs of party politics may allow Bloomberg’s wealth to buy him support.  If he “bribes” the Democratic Party by promising to donate a billion dollars or so in support of their Congressional and Senate candidates, will that tip their support to him at their nominating convention?  It may be an irresistible carrot to dangle before the donkey(s).  With that sort of money, they could realistically hope to keep their current majority in the House of Representatives, and possibly even take control of the Senate.  That would mean that even if President Trump was re-elected, they’d be able to block his judicial nominations and stymie his policy agendas.

I guess only time will tell.  This is turning into a very interesting political equation.  We’ll see how it works out in November.

Peter

13 comments

  1. I would say no. His nanny state antics in New York City may alienate
    the voters in NYC enough to cost him the state in the primaries. He
    will also do poorly with moderate liberal gun owners if he actually
    ends up the nominee. It is not enough to pour a half-billion into
    his campaign if he cannot articulate a positive agenda. There are
    already two billionaires in the running; Trump and Steyer. Steyer
    is dead last in the polls and Trump is the only one of billionaires
    to present a positive agenda.

    It does not matter how much one spends if a candidate lacks charisma
    and a message that appeals to the American people. Steyer and Bloomberg
    have the same problem as Hillary Clinton in 2016. She lacked charisma
    and had the personality of a stone. After spending more money than
    any other candidate in American history, he is in 4th place at a bit
    over 10.5 percent nationally. At least two candidates have to crash
    and burn just to make Doomberg competitive.

  2. The major disadvantage to an independent run is getting onto the ballot in all 50 states. The way the ballot access laws are usually set up, the major party candidates, and even some of the minor ones, appear on the ballot automatically. This is usually based on that party’s candidate having met some threshold number of votes in the previous election for the office in question.

    A truly independent candidate can’t get on the ballot that way. So they have to petition to get on the ballot, gathering the required signatures by the specified date.

    This is something that someone like Bloomberg should be able to deal with by throwing money at it. Of course, I would be willing to be the signatures would be much more closely scrutinized in states where the Secretary of State (or other official responsible for ballot access) has an R after their name than in ones with a D. Or maybe not. Both major parties would have an interest in keeping Bloomberg off the ballot, it would seem to me.

  3. More pundits now theorize that MiniMike’s real objective is a brokered convention which may NOT nominate him, but WILL NOT nominate Bernie or Lizzie.

    A 3rd party run is a very serious gamble because dislocating a very popular President has never been done before. At the same time, a 3rd party run will demolish (D) candidates from top to bottom.

    Hmmmmm.

  4. As Unknown said, he doesn’t seem to have any message other than he’s not Trump, and that’s not going to be good enough. He’s a well known nanny-stater (or fascist, if you prefer) which I would wager does not resonate well with the American electorate at this time. His votes will come from disaffected Democrats, not Republicans. He is challenging the challengers, not the champion, as when Perot ran his third party campaign.

    Still, it bears watching.

  5. There is a substantial percentage of the population who will never, ever vote for a socialist; there is a substantial percentage of the population who will always vote for a socialist promising Great And Wonderful Things Through Socialism, even when those things are not identified as socialism, because those people have never been educated about socialism, how it works and and what it does.

    Then there are the folks in the middle, who are currently being fought over by the candidates.

    Money talks, Bravo Sierra walks, but the Ignorati don’t understand the concept because they’ve been taught to not recognize Bravo Sierra even when it’s coating their shoes.

    The offenses and abuses committed by the Crown were very substantially less than the offenses and abuses beign committed by our Imperial Government in Washington, and by many of the 50 state capitals. Were citizens today of the same mind as those of 1770 we would have had the second revolution around 1975.

    Americans are a patient and tolerant group, probably way too patient and tolerant; we favor organized and non-violent means of correcting the abuses of government, whether or not it has been demonstrated for those principles to be effective.

    Back to money: What’s being ignored, because it’s so far below the radar, is the planning for election fraud, and it’s money that’s the fulcrum for that particular lever. In 2000 the Dems learned they need a level of fraud great enough to overcome challenges; non-Dems learned they need to win by greater than the margin of fraud. 2020 will be the event in which election fraud becomes a major player in the outcome.

    Things have the possibility of becoming extremely interesting from November 4 on. That’s 268 days away; spend them wisely.

  6. @Innocent bystander is correct about the planned fraud.

    As to Bloomberg, Steve Bannon’s theory is that Bloomberg is essentially carrying out a leveraged buyout of the Democrat Party. To what end?

    In an interview with Maria Bartiromo:

    BANNON: …remember, [Trump] wouldn’t never have been impeached if Bloomberg hadn’t given Nancy Pelosi $100 million for her candidates.

    BARTIROMO: Right.

    BANNON: He won 21 of those 20.

    He’s taking — he’s taking $100 million of advertising during the impeachment just to hammer Trump.

    BARTIROMO: So, the president tweeted last night: “Mini Mike is now negotiating both to get on the Democratic primary debate stage and to have the right to stand on boxes or a lift during the debates. This is something — sometimes done, but not fair.”

    Do you think that is why…

    BANNON: I love the way that President Trump can get personal very quickly.

    BARTIROMO: Do you think that’s why they changed the rules, because he gave $100 million to the DNC last year, and he’s pledging up to $2 billion?

    BANNON: Absolutely.

    BARTIROMO: That’s why they changed the rules?

    BANNON: He’s doing a leveraged buyout of the Democratic Party.

    And the centrists, the Wall Street faction, the global corporatists, they understand Joe Biden. Joe Biden’s performance in Iowa has been pathetic. And if you watch it closely, only two-thirds of the things are full. The little V.F. halls, they are full.

    He’s not on point. He can’t bring the heat. They understand — they understand Mayor Pete, a small-town mayor from Indiana, is not going to be president. There’s no centrist candidate.

    That’s why Biden — that’s why Bloomberg money’s coming in to get him more stature. Now, he’s not going to be the nominee, I don’t think. And there’s no chance he can beat Trump.

    So — but they…

    BARTIROMO: Are we going to see a brokered convention? Where is this going?

    Hillary Clinton said…

    BANNON: Yes, Hillary Clinton.

  7. Can he buy the election? Look at how the dems did in the major markets in the last election, they did well. Yes he can buy the election.

    Madison Ave & the MSM know how to sell, they also know how to change what’s considered “normal”.
    Was any of today’s world imaginable 20 years ago? Not from where I’m sitting.

    So my answer to the question/title of this blog is “yes”! (and judging by the ads he is well into it already)

  8. Then there is the problem of “market saturation” or “over saturation”. In this case, folks just get sick and tired of hearing and seeing his ads and wouldn’t vote for him as dog catcher because they are so sick of him.

    But you’d think a successful business man would know about things like that.

  9. Oh, please please please PLEASE run as an independent, Mike B.! You’ll guarantee Trump a record landslide, since any voters who go for Bloomberg will come from the ranks of Democrats who are pissed off about whoever the nominee is. Not a single Trump voter will switch to Bloomberg.

  10. I think his massive spending is already starting to backfire big-time. As Sanders noted above, he’s already oversaturating pretty much every medium with his campaign ads. It’s gotten to the point where one can barely go a single commercial break on the radio or TV (so I’m told, don’t have television service), or watch a single video on YouTube or show on Hulu without seeing one of his campaign ads. Doesn’t matter the channel, his stuff is freaking everywhere.

    And people are already getting sick of it.

    Even my fairly hard-core Liberal friends and Leftist acquaintances have had enough of Bloomie and wish he would, to paraphrase my beloved and recently-departed grandmother, “sit down and shut his mouth!”

    If he does manage to become the nominee, I suspect said overexposure will come back and bite him hard in the election.

  11. I pray he can’t buy the White House…with his facist control-freak “I have the gold, I make the rules” tendencies,plus buying as many state legislatures for gun control,he could well be the trigger for the “BOOGALOO” we all fear….

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