Mike Bloomberg, the former Republican, had a simple plan for becoming the Democratic presidential nominee … he’d just buy the nomination.
With his vast fortune, he would overwhelm his rivals with “saturation advertising.” He would not have to bother campaigning in the early primary and caucus states. The refined New York billionaire just isn’t another one of your Iowa corn-dog-eating politicians!
And for a while, the strategy was working. Bloomberg went from nowhere in the charts to second or third in some presidential polls.
But then came the moment he had to step out from behind his curtain of megabucks and onto the Las Vegas debate stage.
To say the billionaire was underwhelming, and showed major unpreparedness, would be putting it mildly.
Bloomberg was attacked from all sides with questions about his past that were so obvious you didn’t need to be a political strategist to predict them. He was hammered most effectively by Elizabeth Warren. She pounded him from the get-go with this classic burn, “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
Bloomberg has staked his run for the presidency on his sincere, intense desire to beat Trump in November. “The stakes could not be higher, we must win this election,” said Bloomberg. He called Trump an “existential threat to our country.”
It does not appear, however, that his effort to do so by trying to win (buy) the Democratic nomination was the way to go.
A better bet for ousting Trump would have been for Bloomberg to run as a Republican – the party affiliation he had as Mayor of New York City. While he probably would not have beaten Trump for the party’s nomination, history has shown that incumbent presidents who face strong primary challenges are severely weakened by them.
Did Bloomberg really think he could skate to the Democratic nomination by flooding the airwaves with ads bought by an unlimited reservoir of cash … what Democrats hate most about our post-Citizens United political landscape?
Okay, it’s only Bloomberg’s first debate and who watches them anyway? He might get better. His ad blitz is still effective.
But after his dreadful performance in Las Vegas, the belief that Bloomberg is the most likely Democrat to save us from another four years of Trump is seriously in doubt.
Photo | AP/John Locher