Mike Bloomberg's campaign is the best money can buy
Judging by his early polling, Michael Bloomberg is giving election-buying a good name, as long as the money is filtered through the cleansing medium of television ad buys.
As you may know by now, especially if you have seen his ads, the billionaire media mogul and former New York mayor is running for president by sitting out the first four primary states. Instead, in a television-age version of William McKinley's "front-porch campaign," he is running ads everywhere while he focuses on the Super Tuesday primaries on March 3, when about 40% of all the party's convention delegates will be decided in one day.
Of course, more than a few Democrats, especially in those four early states, are steamed about the mere appearance that he's trying to buy the nomination rather than wear out his overshoes in the Iowa and New Hampshire winters.
But, unlike most other candidates, he's spending his own money, which he can easily afford to do. His fortune of more than $50 billion, according to Forbes, humbles the $3.1 billion that Forbes reported for President Donald Trump. In typical form, Trump says that's too low but, unlike other recent presidents, refuses to provide such evidence as, say, his tax returns.
The other billionaire in the race, former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, has a reported $1.6 billion, which looks modest by comparison.
Personal wealth matters more than usual this year for Democrats who are trying in various ways to prove their populist appeal in winning back working- and middle-class voters who defected to Trump or didn't feel motivated enough by Democrats to turn out and vote.
Welcome to the latest stage of media politics. Four years ago, Trump built a campaign on his TV stardom. Now Bloomberg is building one on his TV commercials.
But, so far, Bloomberg's gamble of flooding the airwaves appears to be paying off. A national Monmouth University poll released Wednesday found 9% support for Bloomberg, up from 5% in December.
That's more than a little ways behind front-runners former Vice President Joe Biden at 30%, up from 26% in December; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, at 23%, up from 21%; and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 14%, down from 17%. But it's not a bad start for a guy who, in a way, is campaigning by remote control.
Monmouth also found evidence that voters don't mind that much, either. As NBC pointed out, 56% of Democrats surveyed said the early states have too much say in the race. Also, 57% of registered voters overall said they want a new president to be elected this year. That's an extraordinary anti-incumbent sentiment despite the currently strong economy.