I honestly didn’t think he’d take the plunge, but it goes to show that you should never underestimate the power of ego and a campaign war chest in the billions of dollars. Former New York City mayor and gun control sugar daddy Michael Bloomberg has made it official: he’s running for president.
“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Bloomberg said on his campaign website. “We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.”
Bloomberg’s entry was preceded by news of a massive television ad buy — $31 million, according to Advertising Analytics, which said it was the single largest single week expenditure the firm had ever tracked. A $30 million buy in the final weeks of the 2012 race for then-President Barack Obama held the previous record.
That $31 million ad buy is just the beginning, and there are billions of reasons not to count Bloomberg out of this campaign, no matter how poorly he might be polling at the moment. Bloomberg clearly feels that Joe Biden’s campaign is showing some glaring signs of weakness, and he’s hoping to become the new “moderate” candidate of choice among Democrats.
Part of that money was clearly directed at internet search results, as the first link you see after searching for “Michael Bloomberg president” directs you to his brand new campaign website, which has a lot of happy talk about “gun safety”, but no specific gun control platform, at least for now.
As NBC News reports, Bloomberg plans on self-funding his campaign from his $54-billion fortune, which is already drawing criticism from his fellow candidates.
Bloomberg also said that he wouldn’t accept campaign contributions, which would prevent him from qualifying for the Democratic debates under the current rules. The choice to eschew donors has already drawn swift backlash from some of his opponents.
“This is an outrage, it’s disgusting that somebody who thinks that this is the way that you win a presidency,” said Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir, comparing Bloomberg’s approach to Trump’s 2016 campaign. “You had somebody who proclaimed that ‘I’m so rich that I can’t be bought.’ And then he’s proven when coming into office, that I fight for the people who I know in my elite bubble.”
Warren — who hasn’t held back her feelings on billionaires, or Bloomberg — said Saturday night “this election should not be for sale,” later adding that she doesn’t think the race “is going to be about TV ads versus TV ads” but instead about “grassroots movements.”
Here’s the thing that Elizabeth Warren is forgetting. While Bloomberg is certainly going to flood the airwaves with his campaign ads, he also has a potential get-out-the-vote effort that could dwarf Warren’s “grassroots” support. With Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, Bloomberg has a huge mailing list of likely Democratic voters, as well as a network of gun control activists that he can tap for his own campaign.
I’ll have more analysis on tomorrow’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co., but here’s my quick take: I still think it’s highly unlikely that Bloomberg winds up with the nomination, but gun owners cannot afford to take his campaign lightly. After all, Bloomberg can afford to spend billions in an attempt to take the White House before turning his attention on taking your Second Amendment rights away.