Analysis: Bloomberg’s Big Spending Spree
Former 3-term Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, once a Republican, turned Independent and back to a Democrat is flexing his financial muscle in a bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination. The uber-wealthy candidate has spent roughly $200 million on television and internet advertisements since November 2019, nearly as much as the rest of the Democratic field combined. Bloomberg along with fellow billionaire candidate, Tom Steyer, is dwarfing the rest of the 2020 Democratic candidates spending with a reported $153.1 million and $116.5 million respectively on television ads alone. Senator Bernie Sanders is a distant third at $11.7 million.
The 77-year-old co-founder of Bloomberg LP was listed by Forbes as the 8th wealthiest person in the United States as of October 2019 with a net worth of $53.4 billion. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for successfully campaigning to extend term limits of elected officials in New York City and winning a third consecutive term as mayor in 2009. He is also known for his controversial 2013 proposed “Big Gulp ban” and he’s now employing another intriguing political strategy around his 2020 presidential run. Outside of his recently launched Women for Mike movement, which is aimed at combating a string of allegations of “sexist comments” dating back 30 years, his campaign has been anything but traditional.
Bloomberg is not seeking campaign contributions, therefore, not expected to debate other Democrats and he’s ignoring early voting states to focus on gaining voters later in the primary. Bloomberg’s ad spending, and to a lesser extent, Steyer have caused prices to jump, leaving the rest of the field scrambling to keep up with the billionaires. A Bloomberg spokesperson told the New York Post in November 2019, Bloomberg is willing to spend “whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is not re-elected.” However, The Daily Beast doesn’t think this is a winning strategy, stating that despite the spending spree, Bloomberg is “not on track to pick up a single delegate on Super Tuesday.”
Outside of the major spending on advertisements, Bloomberg also boasts a staff of more than 500 people across 30 states and plans to keep the campaign team working whether he wins the nomination or not, in a full-fledged effort to defeat President Trump. His strategy of attempting to win on ads alone, is unique, if nothing else, but will likely be unsuccessful by all accounts outside of the campaign itself.
While Bloomberg is rich enough to buy popularity and has landed the crown jewel of endorsements in Judge Judy, there are a few reasons he might want to skip the traditional route of retail politics and debating — He’s championed taxing the poor, he’s defended communist China, he’s admitted he’s too old and his team even tweeted an image of a meatball in his likeness. Any of these things may eventually come back to haunt Bloomberg and he might just be better off spending his money on 133 million big gulps.