The rise of billionaire Michael Bloomberg has raised alarms across the political spectrum as many accuse the businessman’s unprecedented campaign of trying to buy his way into office. In an op-ed for Spectator USA, journalist and political commentator Michael Tracey argues that Bloomberg poses a more significant threat to democracy than Donald Trump.
Tracey notes that a few years ago, Bloomberg claimed he could not win the presidency because his platform would not be palatable to a “mass national constituency.” What changed, Tracey, argues, is that Bloomberg has discovered and adopted a strategy of tapping into the fear of older voters who are “petrified” of another term of Trump.
“These voters also happen to watch a disproportionate amount of TV, so they receptively absorb the hundreds of millions of dollars in commercials Bloomberg has force-fed into their cognitive systems, at a scale unprecedented in the history of US electoral politics,” Tracey writes, noting the massive amount — approximately $418 million — Bloomberg has spent on television ads.
As of now, Bloomberg has notably spent about $100 million more than all of the other candidates in the race combined, which has drawn attacks from candidates from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to former Vice President Joe Biden.
According to Tracey, Bloomberg’s Trump-bashing strategy — low on policy and vision — is an attempt to cater to the many people who desire this behavior. And if he is to win, Tracey believes that Bloomberg will “cripple” the United States’ faith in the Democratic Party.
Impeached president says what? https://t.co/Sf2gXXppZO— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 19, 2020
Tracey points to the already-low support for the Democratic Party among Sanders supporters. He also points out that Bloomberg is soliciting high-donor donors by directing them to donate to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which is already facing scrutiny over accusations that the Iowa caucuses were rigged against Sanders.
The former Young Turks reporter also notes the combined $800,000 donation Bloomberg donated to the DNC and state Democratic parties, as well as the DNC’s debate rule changes that only benefitted Bloomberg.
“We don’t even yet have the vocabulary to describe the dangers of what Bloomberg is attempting to do, because nothing like it has never been attempted before,” Tracey writes.
I can’t think of a more surefire way to get another four years of Trump than with an oligarch who’s buying the presidency.— Robert Reich (@RBReich) February 19, 2020
Before Bloomberg takes the debate stage tonight, watch our latest on why nominating an oligarch is a losing strategy for Democrats. pic.twitter.com/wMMYFaKJ9F
Although Bloomberg did not win any delegates in Iowa or New Hampshire, he has focused his spending on Super Tuesday states and already begun to rise in polls in such regions. Per BBC, this surge was enough to qualify him for Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Nevada — an achievement made possible by the DNC’s previously mentioned removal of the donor requirements for the debates.
“For all the histrionic bloviating about the destruction of ‘norms’ during Trump’s tenure, Bloomberg’s gambit is a much bigger threat to democratic legitimacy,” Tracey concluded his article, noting that even if Bloomberg can defeat Sanders for the nomination, it is extremely doubtful that he could defeat Trump.