Michael Bloomberg, the 12th wealthiest man in the world, seems to think he can buy his way into the Oval Office. His advertisements are incessant, and his budget appears to have no ceiling. But simply having money does not mean Bloomberg is entitled to the Democratic nomination, especially when he has spent his career supporting racist policies and harassing women that work for him.
The billionaire former Mayor of New York City is personally funding his own presidential campaign, and has already spent a staggering $409 million on advertising in the few months he’s officially been in the race. This is more money than any other candidate has spent throughout their entire campaign through January 2020, according to the Federal Election Commission, and the bill just keeps growing.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the current Democratic front-runner, spent $117 million on his campaign through January. Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent $91 million. Former Vice President Joe Biden spent $63 million through January, a fraction of Bloomberg’s total spending.
Bloomberg is essentially trying to sell the idea that his wealth and business successes make him the best option. But many Democrats simply aren’t buying it.
“I think we need something different than Donald Trump. I don’t think you look at Donald Trump and say we need someone richer in the White House,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the Nevada debate.
If you were to slap a bad toupee and a spray tan on Bloomberg, he might be difficult to distinguish from our current president. There is actually even a quiz featured on Politico’s website, to see if readers can tell the difference between real Trump and Bloomberg quotes. Spoiler alert: it’s pretty hard.
Until very recently, Bloomberg had not participated in debates with his fellow candidates. After watching him get absolutely slaughtered in the last two debates, it’s easy to understand why.
In Nevada, Candidates brought up the racist policies Bloomberg has publicly supported, such as redlining and stop and frisk, both of which disproportionately targeted people of color and minority communities.
They also addressed the fact that he has not come forward with his tax returns, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren prodded him to release women from their non-disclosure agreements, so that they could tell their own stories about what it was like to work for Bloomberg’s company.
Bloomberg failed to respond adequately to these points, opting instead to make excuses for his actions. These “rebuttals”, if you can even call them that, were weak, especially compared to the strength of the arguments against him. He was visibly flustered, and seemed out of his element on the debate stage.
“We have very few non-disclosure agreements,” Bloomberg said. “None of them accuse me of anything … maybe they didn’t like the jokes I told.”
His debate performance in South Carolina wasn’t much better. Between the misplaced comments and the scripted, self-deprecating jokes, he was definitely not the strongest candidate on the stage. Elizabeth Warren continued to bring up the non-disclosure agreements, and Bloomberg continued to try and divert attention from this topic.
“I have the experience, I have the resources, and I have the record. All of the sideshows that the senator wants to bring up have nothing to do with that,” he said.
If Bloomberg really wants to be involved in beating Donald Trump this year, he should just pledge to support whoever ends up becoming the Democratic nominee. The American people deserve a president who has their interests in mind. A president whose campaign was funded by the people, not a president who bought themselves the nomination. We deserve a president who has dedicated their entire career to fighting to improve the lives of all Americans, not just the lives of wealthy white people.
UPDATE: As of 3/4/2020, Bloomberg has dropped out of the race due to disappointing performance during Super Tuesday, however, at the time of this writing, Bloomberg was still in the election.