Can Bloomberg buy it?

In his most recent column Rich Lowry expresses disgust in contemplation of Michael Bloomberg’s “naked bid to buy the White House,” but Rich doesn’t get at the dimensions of Bloomberg’s effort. Axios reporters Alexi McCammond and Stef W. Kight provide a glimpse in “Bloomberg’s big bet on the power of money.” In yesterday’s Axios AM newsletter, Mike Allen summarized their findings including the following believe-it-or-not items:

• In just over a month, Bloomberg spent more than the top 2020 contenders, including Trump, for the whole final quarter of 2019 combined, according to FEC data. He also outspent the entire RNC and DNC.

• With 2,100 paid staff, Bloomberg has three times as many as Trump, five times as many as Joe Biden and more than twice as many as Elizabeth Warren, according to data the campaigns provided to Axios.

• He pays his staff more than any other 2020 Democrat, and offers housing if they have to move to New York City, according to a campaign official.

• “He’s building his own infrastructure [and investing] in the tech and data to really build his own operation,” a Bloomberg campaign aide said.

I found Bloomberg to be an increasingly unlikable figure as the three-term mayor of New York City (a lifelong Democrat, Bloomberg nominally switched parties to run for office and serve as mayor the first two terms before winning a third term as a nominal Independent). Isn’t likability a sort of sine qua non in democratic politics? It certainly helps.

Now seeking to conform his views to the Democrats’ worldview, Bloomberg should find it difficult to expand his appeal. Bloomberg seems to present the ultimate test case on the power of money in politics.

Related: See Steve Hayward’s January 2020 post “A new theory of Bloomberg’s grand strategy.”

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