The $500 Million Question: Can Bloomberg’s Money Buy the Democratic Primary? – NTK Network The $500 Million Question: Can Bloomberg’s Money Buy the Democratic Primary?

The $500 Million Question: Can Bloomberg’s Money Buy the Democratic Primary?

The former New York City mayor is pledging to spend at least $500 million of his own money to win the Democratic nomination. If that’s not enough, he says he’ll spend more.

By NTK Staff | 02.13.2019 @10:00am
The $500 Million Question: Can Bloomberg’s Money Buy the Democratic Primary?

Can Democrat voters be bought? If former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg follows through on his promises, we’re about to find out.

Bloomberg has pledged to spend $500 million from his own pocket to defeat President Donald Trump. What’s not yet clear is if that will take the form of Bloomberg self-funding his bid in the Democratic primary or if that money will go into an “unprecedented data-heavy campaign designed” to defeat Trump.

Incredibly, Bloomberg aides are saying that $500 million is the minimum he intends to spend, and that figure could go up over time.

“That’ll get us through the first few months,” Kevin Sheekey, a top advisor to the former New York City mayor, told POLITICO when asked about the $500 million plan, which is just 1 percent of Bloomberg’s estimated net worth.

“Mike spent $100 million in his last New York City election. And you can do the math as you think more broadly but New York City is 3 percent of the national population,” Sheekey said. “I’m not suggesting it’s straight math. But I’m suggesting that when Mike Bloomberg is committed to making a difference and seeing something though, generally speaking he’s pretty unabashed in doing so.”

Should Bloomberg opt out of running in the Democratic primary, it’s not clear how he would differentiate his effort from that of fellow billionaire Tom Steyer, the liberal megadonor who has spent the past few years building a multi-state anti-Trump operation.

Interestingly, earlier reports indicated that Bloomberg’s decision to run as a candidate himself or to fund an anti-Trump entity might not even be his to make. Members of Bloomberg’s team told the Atlantic last month that the Manhattanite would sit out the Democratic primary if former Vice President Joe Biden decided to run. Biden has not indicated when he might make a decision.

But the former mayor cleared that up in a conversation with the Associated Press. “My decision doesn’t depend on what other people are going to do,” he said. “My decision depends on whether or not I think I can make a difference.”

Ultimately, a Bloomberg candidacy will be a test in how far money can take a candidate in U.S. politics. Polls indicate that Bloomberg is the top choice of very, very few Democrats. His aides acknowledged to Politico that “the billionaire can’t buy the nomination, hundreds of millions of dollars can put him in contention.”

Bloomberg is expected to make a formal decision on whether to run in about three weeks.

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