AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter
Michael Bloomberg has already spent more than $200-million in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, but the former New York mayor and current gun control sugar daddy is also promising to nearly double what the NRA spent in the 2016 election in order to push anti-gun candidates around the country in this election cycle.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the Bloomberg-created gun control group, announced Monday that it plans on spending $60-million in the 2020 elections in a bid to do to the United States as a whole what the group did to Virginia in 2019: give Democrats complete control of the executive and legislative branches of government.
“This massive 2020 effort is fueled by a combination of financial resources, unprecedented grassroots power and a consensus among more than 90 percent of Americans across party lines that we need action now to reduce gun violence,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in the press release.
Mostly it’s fueled by Michael Bloomberg’s bank account, but gun owners can’t ignore the threat that this spending campaign poses to our right to keep and bear arms. The tens of millions that Bloomberg will be pouring into congressional and senate campaigns will play an outsized roll in aiding anti-gun candidates across the country, but gun owners can blunt the effects of the Bloomberg bucks by getting involved now.
While media outlets have long decried spending by the NRA and other groups as attempts to buy elections, so far most news outlets appear to be simply enthralled by the prospect of Bloomberg spending gobs of cash to advance his anti-gun agenda. NBC News, for example, described Bloomberg’s bid to become president in glowing terms earlier this week.
“Money is the No. 1 factor in most elections,” said former Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from Florida who, until the 2018 blue wave sent him packing, represented a Democratic-leaning district that includes Miami. “If you look back at the data, candidates that have the most resources at their disposal tend to win.”
Curbelo said Bloomberg’s ads are already ubiquitous in Florida, a state so big and expensive to advertise in that national Republican and Democratic party groups often don’t bother.
“You can’t watch a football game without seeing him,” Curbelo said of Bloomberg.
Speaking of which, viewers of next Sunday’s Super Bowl, one of the largest TV audiences of the year, will see a 60-second Bloomberg spot — at an estimated cost of $10 million. Trump and the Republican National Committee are building an unprecedented war chest of their own and plan to deploy some of that to run their own Super Bowl ad, which his campaign said cost $10 million.
With the country deeply polarized, almost everyone expects the 2020 election to be a close race, decided on the margins in a handful of now-familiar Electoral College swing states, where Trump won by just tens of thousands of votes.
And tight races are where money can make a real difference, according to a growing body of academic research.
“A lot of ads can potentially swing an election that is close,” said Jörg Spenkuch of Northwestern University, who conducted one of the most-cited studies on the impact of political advertising. “But ads are probably not effective enough to change the outcome of a race that wasn’t close to begin with.”
Bloomberg won’t target every congressional seat. His gun control group will borrow pages from their Virginia playbook and focus their efforts on flipping suburban swing districts across the country while they also devote considerable time and cash to electing Democrat senators in states like Colorado, Kentucky (where Mitch McConnell is a huge target), and Arizona.
No matter what state you live in, however, chances are there’s a race that Bloomberg and his anti-gun activists will be involved in, and that’s a race that you should be involved in as well. Work with the campaign directly, or with your state party organization, or with Second Amendment groups like the NRA, GOA, and state level groups as well. What we can’t do is stay on our couch and think someone else will do the heavy lifting for us. Gun control groups believe 2020 is the year that they can put the pieces in places to completely gut our right to keep and bear arms in 2021, and it’s up to us to stop them at the ballot box.