When news of Michael Bloomberg’s formal presidential campaign launch broke on Sunday, I couldn’t wait to talk to my friend Jim Geraghty about the late entry into the Democrat’s crowded field of primary candidates. Jim and I have been following Bloomberg’s mayoral campaigns and gun control antics together for well over a decade, and there are few people who know more about campaigns than Jim, so I’m thrilled that he could join me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. to talk about the campaign and why gun owners should treat it seriously.
Not only is Bloomberg launching with an unprecedented $31-million nationwide ad blitz, he’s peeling staff away from his personal news empire and ensuring that his reporters won’t be investigating him or his fellow Democrats during the campaign, though they’ll keep digging into Donald Trump.
There’s also the matter of Bloomberg’s gun control groups. While Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety have apparently been told that they won’t have to support Bloomberg’s candidacy, it’s also being reported by left-wing outlet Mother Jones that Bloomberg is “renting” the Moms Demand Action email list, which is estimated to have about six million names (some of them undoubtably gun owners who signed up to keep an eye on what the gun control group is up to).
The leaders of Moms Demand Action state chapters and local groups received the news from Aimee Tavares, a senior national organizing director for the group, who sent an email roughly three and a half hours after news broke that Bloomberg would formally announce his candidacy. “Given his unique role in launching Everytown, his leadership in advancing the cause of gun safety, and the significant investments he’s made in helping to grow our movement, Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign is temporarily renting access to our list of supporters so they can communicate his plans for achieving our shared goal of a nation free from gun violence,” Tavares wrote.
While that will certainly be helpful for Bloomberg’s campaign, there are signs that his support for gun control groups like Moms Demand Action won’t translate easily to votes. Buzzfeed‘s Amber Jamieson spoke to several Moms Demand Action volunteers, and none of them seem too excited about Bloomberg’s presidential bid.
“I’m not super psyched about it, but I respect him enormously,” said Jessica Craven, 51, the legislative lead for her Moms Demand Action group in Northeast Los Angeles. “I don’t think we need more candidates — more white male candidates.”
In 2018, Craven canvassed for Democrats Mike Levin, Katie Porter, and Katie Hill, who all won seats in Congress in largely Republican areas thanks to strong grassroots campaigning.
“We don’t need another business person in office,” said Rhonda Hart, 38, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action in Texas and an Everytown Survivor Fellow, which means she went through a sort of leadership training program. Hart’s daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, died in the Santa Fe High School shooting in May 2018, after a student opened fire in her art class and killed 10 people.
“While he’s our largest donor, it doesn’t mean he is the organization himself,” said Alanna Miller, 19, the Students Demand Action volunteer leader at Duke University and a member of the organization’s national advisory board. “He’s just like any other candidate.”
For Bloomberg, the only thing that makes him stand out in terms of gun control is the amount of time and money he’s spent trying to enact new laws. His policies, on the other hand, are no different than any of the other Democrats running for the nomination. He’s anti-gun, but so is every other member of the field. Instead, what makes him really stand out is his personal wealth, and at a time when Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are arguably the most popular candidates in the race, a self-funding billionare probably isn’t who the base is looking for.
Bloomberg, on the other hand, has billions of dollars at his disposal to re-brand himself as a moderate alternative to those wacky socialists, while still championing progressive causes like gun control and shutting down the coal industry. With his multi-million dollar rollout, we’ll soon see how much money matters in terms of moving the poll numbers.
Also on today’s program, we have the story of the violent felon police who police believe shot and killed an officer in Detroit, an armed woman in South Carolina able to fend off an attacker in her home thanks to her handgun, and a passerby in the right place at the right time to save a family from their burning apartment.
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