Former New York Mayor and financial tycoon Michael Bloomberg, according to the LA Times, has spent more than $ 124 million in 14 states on political advertising in support of his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election.
This amount is many times higher than the cost of advertising campaigns of other candidates - for example, the leader of the race among the Democrats, Senator Bernie Sanders. He spent just $ 10 million on advertising in the states that will be participating in the day of simultaneous voting, scheduled for March 3.
In the US political system, this day is called "Super Tuesday" and takes place in February or March in the year of the presidential election. The “super Tuesday” elects state delegates to congresses at which presidential candidates from all parties are determined. It is on the day of simultaneous voting that more delegates are elected than in any other period of the election race, therefore, for all presidential candidates, victory on this day is very important.
In 2020, 16 states will take part in it, including such large and politically influential regions as California and Texas. The approach of the “Super Tuesday” suggests that the internal party elections will end soon, and the election campaigns will move to the individual stage.
So, by March 17, more than 60% of electoral delegates will be appointed, and their preferences will be known by the round of primaries in the state of Milwaukee. Thus, by mid-March, a candidate will be determined, the preference of which is given by the majority of party electors.
Traditionally, at this stage of the election race, only candidates with a high level of national support or those who have impressive personal resources to support their own campaign can continue to participate in it.
Billionaire without charisma
Michael Bloomberg is a politician and businessman whose fortune is estimated at $ 54.1 billion. He is ranked ninth in the Forbes billionaire rating. In 1981, Bloomberg founded the Bloomberg LP company, which was engaged in the organization and sale of analytical data for stock market participants. Today, Bloomberg is one of the leading media agencies in the world, which includes a news service, several television channels, a publishing house and an Internet portal.
- Recount of ballots for the primaries of the Democratic Party
- © JIM WATSON
In addition, in 2002-2013, Bloomberg was the mayor of New York. It is worth noting that for the first time he was elected to this post from the Republican Party, having spent $ 74 million on the campaign.
The tycoon entered the current election race much later than other participants - in November last year. At that time, the level of his support, according to the aggregator of opinion polls RealClearPolitics (RCP), did not exceed 3%.
However, three months later, the New York billionaire significantly strengthened its position - according to surveys conducted from February 2 to 16, almost 15% of registered voters are ready to vote for it. Thus, he became a “first-tier” candidate from the Democrats, entering the top three, led by Bernie Sanders with 24.8% of potential votes.
The second line on this list is occupied by former US Vice President Joe Biden with 17.8% support, although he was the most unconditional leader among democratic candidates recently.
American media say that Bloomberg was able to seriously strengthen his position, largely due to the weakness of Biden as a leader, as well as due to his impressive personal resources. Thus, the company Advertising Analytics, which monitors the financing of election campaigns of politicians, noted that Bloomberg had already spent a total of $ 363 million on advertising on television and radio.
The Intercept reports that Bloomberg’s advertising campaigns have significantly affected the financial performance of media holdings such as the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Nexstar Media Group, Gray Television and Meredith Corporation, which own many local television channels and studios in various US states. After the billionaire entered the fight for the presidency, the shares of these television holdings added to the price, according to CNBC.
Analysts say that Bloomberg is trying to "flood" the election field with money, because he does not have a permanent loyal electorate that would support him for many years.
“In this sense, he is different from Bernie Sanders, who has a core of loyal supporters. Now polls show that someone will be ready to vote for him, but to say that Bloomberg has some kind of team that supports him is impossible. This is the main problem. No one can say that Bloomberg is a charismatic nationwide leader, ”said Yuri Rogulev, director of the Roosevelt US Studies Foundation at Moscow State University, in a conversation with RT.
In turn, American political scientist Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak, in an interview with RT, noted that Bloomberg is the most promising candidate among other democrats.
“He is the same as Trump, and it is far from accidental that Bloomberg went to the mayors of New York from the Republicans and spent three terms in this post. Then he realized that it would not work for the Republicans to run for president, and he turned to the opposition. At the same time, Trump did the same, who for eight years represented the Democrats, and when the question arose about the presidential chair, he realized that he was not shining from the Democrats, and transferred to the camp of the Republicans. In my opinion, of the currently submitted candidates, it is Bloomberg who looks most advantageous, ”said the expert.
The rapid strengthening of Michael Bloomberg's positions did not go unnoticed by his main rivals. So, Joe Biden, in an interview with NBC, noted that, having a significant fortune, "you can buy a lot of advertising, but you can’t hide your mistakes."
- Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump
- © Brendan SMIALOWSKI
The current leader among candidates from the US Democratic Party Bernie Sanders also went on the attack against the billionaire.
“For me, democracy is when one person has one vote, and not when Bloomberg or someone else spends hundreds of millions of dollars trying to buy an election,” Sanders said, speaking to supporters at a Saturday rally in Denver.
At the same time, supporters of Bloomberg and other centrist democrats reject the accusations by Bernie Sanders and his colleague in the Social Democratic bloc, Elizabeth Warren. The term "oligarch" was outraged by the particularly supportive billionaire democrats - that is how Bloomberg began to be called in social networks by supporters of Sanders and Warren.
I'm seeing more & more Bernie and Warren partisans level this 'oligarch' epithet at Bloomberg. It's a term generally used to describe corrupt & murderous Russians who got rich from their connections to Yeltsin & Putin. Employing it against Bloomberg is doing Trump a big favor. https://t.co/kdX2FO3hJQ- Jeff Stein (@SpyTalker) February 14, 2020
“I see that more and more supporters of Bernie and Warren are using the epithet“ oligarch ”for Bloomberg. Usually, this is the name of the Russians who were involved in corruption and killings and who became rich thanks to ties with Yeltsin and Putin. Applying this word to Bloomberg means doing a great service to Trump, ”wrote Newsweek journalist Jeff Stein on his Twitter.
However, left-wing politicians who use social networks criticized Stein for trying to divide the oligarchs into “bad Russians” and the positive Bloomberg, and told the journalist that the billionaire is a reference representative of the political oligarchy.
“He got rich thanks to his connections on Wall Street. He owns a huge share of the media and bought a bunch of politicians. He is an oligarch, ”said one of Twitter users.
“Russians are not unique; this word should not belong only to them. I doubt that Plato would approve of this, ”wrote another participant in the discussion, recalling that this term appeared in ancient Greece.
“The argument that“ Bloomberg needs to be made president because the word “oligarch” causes Slavic associations inapplicable to him ”is just perfect nonsense,” said another participant in the dispute.
"Biden is a weak candidate"
From the point of view of Yuri Rogulev, Michael Bloomberg is fully consistent with the classical interpretation of the concept of "oligarch".
“Bloomberg was the mayor of New York. Being one of the richest people in the world, he has every opportunity to influence political processes. He is the owner of one of the largest news agencies in the United States. A person who has such money and political weight is quite suitable for the role of an oligarch, ”the political scientist noted.
- US Democratic Presidential Candidates
- © Brian Snyder
At the same time, as Yuri Rogulev emphasizes, impressive cash does not guarantee Bloomberg that he will be the final winner of the primaries.
“Yes, he has tremendous opportunities for an advertising campaign, but this does not provide him with the position of the main candidate from the Democrats,” the expert said.
In addition to Bloomberg’s clear financial advantage, it’s also obvious that the leadership of the Democratic Party began to promote him as a leader in replacing his losing position, Joe Biden, said Vladimir Vasiliev, chief researcher at the Institute of the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“The left wing, naturally, is not satisfied with the left wing and Bernie Sandres, who is only nominally a member of the Democratic Party. Recently, it seems that Biden is a weak candidate, ”the expert explained.
According to him, today the Democratic Party is aware that, politically, the price of these elections is enormous.
“Democrats cannot afford to lose Trump's second presidential election. Here the stakes are very high. But it’s not entirely clear how the ordinary Democratic voter will react to Bloomberg, because this is, in fact, the same Trump, “repainted” in the blue colors of the party. Therefore, criticism from Sanders and other left-wing politicians can play a role. Today, American voters have begun to realize that they are in the hands of oligarchic groups, ”concluded Vladimir Vasiliev.