by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Mike Bloomberg is using his vast personal fortune to commandeer the Democratic Party, discarding tradition and ignoring the party establishment in an unorthodox bid to capture the presidential nomination.
The former New York City mayor is moving to leapfrog entrenched Democrats with carefully laid plans that follow time-honored rules for seeking the presidential nomination. Bloomberg’s approach is reminiscent of another billionaire candidate initially dismissed as a long shot. In 2016, President Trump crashed a crowded Republican primary, flouting party norms as he elbowed out established politicians.
Bloomberg is skipping Iowa and other early nominating contests popular with grassroots Democrats and the party’s establishment. The 77-year-old media mogul is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to field massive, high-paid ground and digital operations and to blanket television airwaves across the country in a big play for 14 states that vote on Super Tuesday, March 3. He is paying for all of it out of his own, deep pockets. …
… The Bloomberg campaign is less a coalition than it is a virtual shadow party. He is strictly self-funding, declining to solicit or accept donations. He is not endorsed by major liberal groups that might influence his agenda. Just 10 Democratic politicians or influential party operatives have backed him, according FiveThirtyEight’s endorsement tracker. Should Bloomberg’s gambit fail, he is promising to keep the lights on at his campaign and put it to work for whoever wins the nomination.