AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
It’s been a little more than a month since Michael Bloomberg first announced he was running for president, and in the weeks since it’s been hard to avoid running into his campaign online and on your TV set.
Search for “gun control,” as I do several times a day, and the first response on Google is an ad for Bloomberg’s campaign. Same for “gun safety.” That’s because a large part of Bloomberg’s spending to date has been focused on showing up in Internet searches, and not just about gun control. As Vice notes, Bloomberg is now directly going after President Trump with his online ads.
When Google users typed “Trump” into their search bars Thursday, an unexpected result might have popped up: a message from Michael Bloomberg.
“Trump Has Betrayed us and Broken His Promises,” read an ad above any Trump-related news articles, images, and other links. “Enough is Enough.”
The temporary takeover of the president’s turf was a particularly aggressive move by a campaign that has tried to gobble up every inch of media real estate. Bloomberg has spent millions buying Google ads in recent weeks, many of them similarly targeting other search keywords like “impeachment,” “gun control,” and various climate-related terms.
It’s not just Google. Bloomberg has been dropping millions of dollars on Facebook ads as well, particularly targeting users who live in Super Tuesday primary states.
Since jumping into the race in late November, the former New York mayor has outgunned the vaunted Trump digital team on Facebook, $6 million to $3.5 million, more than tripled Sen. Bernie Sanders’ spending, and more than quadrupled that of Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“Wouldn’t you rather have a President who builds coalitions, treats people with respect, and works for a better world?” pleads one ad targeting Facebook users in North Carolina, one of 14 states holding Super Tuesday primaries on March 3. Bloomberg is staking his bid on those states, which include California, rather than early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
Bloomberg is spending huge amounts of cash on campaign advertising, but he’s also going on a hiring binge, as The Hill reported earlier this week. With a new campaign office in Times Square and more than 300 staffers, the Bloomberg campaign is massive. The only thing it doesn’t have is support from a lot of voters.
There haven’t been many polls conducted over the past week or so because of the holidays, but in Economist/YouGov polls released on December 25th and January 1st, Bloomberg was at 4% and 3%, respectively. That puts him in a tie for 6th place with Andrew Yang. I’d say Yang actually has more buzz than Bloomberg, even if his share of the vote isn’t any higher.
Bloomberg didn’t do himself any favors when he proclaimed that the “average American” shouldn’t be allowed to carry a firearm, and that only trained professionals are equipped to defend themselves or others with a gun. There are more than 18-million concealed carry holders in this country, and millions more carrying in permitless carry states. Not all of them are Republican.
There are broad swaths of the Democrat base who despite Bloomberg for his billions of dollars made via capitalism, and plenty on the right who can’t stand his nanny state mentality and his hostility towards the Second Amendment. Bloomberg was hoping that there was a large group of Americans in the middle who would embrace his attempt to portray himself as a pragmatic progressive who can do big things, but so far it looks like a miscalculation on his part. Of course Bloomberg has billions of dollars to spend in his bid for the presidency, but none other than Andrew Yang recently warned the candidate of the dangers of a diminishing return on his investment. Bloomberg’s running out of time to break into the top tier of candidates, and money doesn’t seem to be able to buy him the love and votes that he needs.