Donald Trump ushered in a disruption in political campaigns, and Mike Bloomberg is its logical conclusion. Carefully considering all this entails, I have concluded that Bloomberg must not win.
First, let me explore the possibility of a Bloomberg presidency. It would not be as awful as a conservative living through Trumpian times might think. Certainly, Bloomberg would not subject us to the daily hysterics we see with our current president, and would not embarrass America like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
Bloomberg would not be so doddering as to be a puppet, like Joe Biden, but Bloomberg is actually older, at 78. I don’t think old age in itself is disqualifying, but in Biden’s case, the effects are pretty obvious–not so in Bloomberg’s.
These things, I could live with.
It’s not Bloomberg’s policies. Actually, these are fairly centrist, even Trumpian in some ways. Focus on jobs, innovation, and entrepreneurship is good. A $15 national minimum wage is bad, but is it as bad as punishing tariffs? I’d say that’s an open question of which bad policy is worse.
On guns, yeah Bloomberg is an anti-gun nut, but not to the level of, say, “Nuclear” Eric Swalwell. Plus, his signature plan to “require every gun buyer to get a permit before making a purchase” is likely unconstitutional.
Improving the point-of-sale background checks for all purchases is a noble goal, but the current National Instant Background Check (NICS) program works pretty well. In 2018, it processed 26,181,936 background checks, with over 12.5 million processed by states that issue permits. Of transactions processed, 99,252 were denied in 2018, a total of nearly 1.6 million denials since 1998 when the program went into operation.
If Bloomberg won, he’d bluster and bloviate on guns, like Obama, but all that would do is increase gun sales and re-energize the flagging and scandal-ridden NRA to clean its house (or other groups would emerge).
On other policies, like drug prices and opioids, Bloomberg is not far from Trump. On “LGBTQ+ policies,” Bloomberg is a fairly typical centrist Democrat. He hasn’t really shoved that issue down our throats, like Elizabeth Warren. And Buttigieg, an openly gay, same-sex-married man, being a viable candidate speaks volumes to the fact that America has already mainstreamed “gay rights.” Radical transgender, polyamory, and other next wave post-Christian concepts are not part of Bloomberg’s portfolio.
I would personally not vote for Bloomberg based on his record on supporting abortion. He was NARAL’s candidate in 2005 and 2009. But that’s not the reason I think he absolutely must not win.
Bloomberg must not win because he’s trying to buy the presidency like it was a company for sale.
One of the disruptions that Trump brought us in 2016 is that the current debate system is dying and mostly irrelevant. It’s just a scripted circus of talking points and zingers, measured by the second, of who gets the most “talk time.” The moderators hardly moderate, when they’re not acting as advocates for their favorite candidate. Trump did well skipping a couple of critical debates, and even holding competing events during the Iowa debate.
Bloomberg has taken full advantage of this disruption, not even trying to qualify for any debates, which have required a minimum number of individual donors, by the Democratic Party’s rules. Bloomberg doesn’t want anyone’s cash, and simply doesn’t care. This strategy has not hurt him, and in fact might help, as nobody can point to a bad debate appearance by Mike.
The rules for how a candidate is picked are ultimately not set by the party when the party has yielded the process over to the states and the people. With Super Tuesday, effectively a national primary, Bloomberg has set his money and his target sights on this one prize.
The other area that’s always been important in presidential (and other high profile) races is name recognition. Like any brand, Bloomberg needed to bring his name ID up. Donald Trump spent forty years working on his brand–from the get-go it was his biggest asset, and in fact it likely was the largest determining factor in his win. Nobody could “define” Donald Trump because Trump had an unbreakable lock on that (and still does).
Bloomberg has spent well over $200 million so far–$188 million through the end of December 2019–and hasn’t even appeared on a primary ballot. In contrast, el-cheapo (with his own money) Trump personally spent about $65 million, all-in. His campaign spent $325 million, far less than Hillary Clinton. Trump ran off his inherent assets, which were and are formidable.
Bloomberg’s money vacuum is sucking up all the talent and labor, top-to-bottom, everywhere he wants to compete, by buying it. This is harming smaller down-ballot campaigns who cannot compete, money-wise.
What has Bloomberg been spending on? Per the Federal Elections Commission data through the end of 2019, the two biggest costs have been television advertising ($132 million) and digital outreach ($20 million). Some of the costs reflect a late entry to the campaign—buying lists of voters to contact ($3.2 million), hiring people to gather signatures to get his name on the ballot ($373,441), and hiring recruiters to bring onboard staff ($107,000).Bloomberg is running the billionaire vote-buying campaign we expected from Trump, Quartz, February 14, 2020
Bloomberg is also liberally shelling out cash for influence, endorsements, and online “influencers.” He silences critics with cash.
The decision by Emily’s List, to mute its misgivings and embrace Mr. Bloomberg as a mighty ally, foreshadowed the choice Mr. Bloomberg is now asking Democrats to make by anointing him their presidential nominee.Bloomberg’s Billions: How the Candidate Built an Empire of Influence, New York Times, February 15, 2020
Even Bloomberg’s philanthropy is used to craft and mold his influence. While Trump’s so-called philanthropy is the art of using other people’s money (and stuff) to build his name brand, Bloomberg’s is breathtakingly Machiavellian in its scope and depth.
While Trump spent decades building his name, Bloomberg has spend decades honing his craft of targeted spending to win political influence and power. This has manifested itself in Democrats who did their level best to keep billionaires out of politics to now hail Bloomberg and his billions as a hero to save them from the desolation of Sanders’ socialist nightmare.
A Bloomberg presidency itself might not be a terrible time for conservatives (bad, but not terrible), but Bloomberg winning would be terribly damaging to our nation. No man should be able to engineer a White House takeover through spending and Machiavellian intrigue. No-one should be able to buy the presidency, and that’s exactly what Bloomberg has in mind.
Bloomberg must not win, literally at all costs. I’ll take four more years of Trump standing on my head to prevent it.