Multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg is not campaigning for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Instead, he is attempting to force his presence down the throats of primary voters via television and online commercials, assuming that this strategy will garner him enough votes on March 3 – Super Tuesday – to steal the nomination. The Jan. 1 deadline to get on the ballot for the Nevada caucuses is now passed and Bloomberg did not make it, by design. Nevadans, of course, mean little to Bloomberg, the ultimate east coast elitist.
As a latecomer to the race, the former New York mayor might have been expected to put in extra effort to make up ground but, then again, he is wealthy enough to fund his own campaign and buy all the airtime and print ads he needs, so why worry about actually taking his message in person to the voters?
“We are confident we can win in states voting on Super Tuesday and beyond, where we will start on an even footing,” Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen told The Hill, ”but the late timing of our entry means that many candidates already have a big head start in the four early states, where they’ve spent months and months campaigning and spending money.”
Strategy or Cowardice?
With this explanation, Slayen summed up the Bloomberg mentality: This is not about letting the primary voters get to know the candidate and it certainly is not about the candidate getting out there in the campaign trenches with the rest of the Democratic contenders, whom – one cannot help but suspect – Bloomberg thinks of as a rabble of wannabes. This is about simply securing the nomination in the most ruthlessly efficient way possible.
If one accepts Bloomberg for who he is – a man who wants not to govern but to rule – and the way he sees the American people – not as citizens but as subjects – then his campaign plan makes perfect sense. Slayen is right, after all. The early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina are not within Bloomberg’s grasp, no matter how much money he spends, at this point. All four of those states will be won by either Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). There is very little chance that any other candidate will place in the top three in any of these states.
Nevertheless, a candidate with a genuine passion for the people he or she seeks to represent would still engage in these early battles, especially if, like Bloomberg, they did not have to fret over the allotment of every campaign dollar.
If Bloomberg had any backbone, he would have competed in these early primary states even if he knew he would win no more than a percentage point or three. Perhaps he has a concern, though, about how an inevitably dismal showing in these early states would look, were he to have actually made an effort. While historical trends sometimes tell a different story, there is a certain amount of cachet and momentum to be won from a good showing in these early voting states. To come out of the four contests with nothing to show for it does not bode well for any candidate.
Real Clear Politics polling averages have Bloomberg at less than 2% in Iowa and not even registering in the other three early states. It is not really that likely that he would have done any better even if he had poured in a lot of money and effort. At least now he can simply avoid the dismal numbers by not competing at all in those states and pointing out that he did not even try.
What about Super Tuesday, which, for Democrats, is primary voting day in 14 states? Is the super-rich New Yorker doing any better with voters in these states? The RCP average has him at around 3% in California, but, other than that, Bloomberg is faring no better than in the early voting states.
The reality is that Bloomberg has absolutely no chance of winning his party’s nomination. While one could argue that many people in 2015 said the same thing about Trump, that is not a rational comparison: Trump had a message while Bloomberg’s only message is that he intends to get rid of Trump. Considering the current state of the economy, this is not really a winning agenda. Additionally, the ideological heart of the party is with Warren and Sanders while the more old school moderate Democratic base still leans toward Biden. Bloomberg has no place in the fight for the future of his party.
Bloomberg is not in this race to become a president of all Americans and his thus far flippant campaign shows this. He is in it to rule over the Northeastern states and the West Coast. Like all other leftist elites, he cares very little for anything in between. Were he to pull off a miracle and become the Democratic Party presidential nominee, he would campaign only in New York, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He would also have to stoop to campaigning in Texas, of course, because that state has too many electoral votes to ignore, but the rest of the country would never see him. He would pass the rest of the states by, just as he has Nevada.
The smart money, though, is on Bloomberg not coming anywhere close to taking the stage at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Very few people outside of New York and California, Democrat or Republican, have even heard of him, and it is fair to say that even fewer people are likely to want him anywhere near the White House.
Read more from Graham J Noble.