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The Democratic Party should rename itself The Billionaires’ Club. It’s difficult to come to a different conclusion after hearing how much Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer have spent on ads already. Combined, the two billionaires have invested $200 million in television and digital advertising. And Bloomberg is just getting started.
Politico reports that “the former New York mayor spending an unprecedented $120 million in the roughly three weeks since he joined the presidential race.” Note, that’s more than twice as much as all the non-billionaire Democrats put together.
Jim McLaughlin, a Republican political strategist who worked as a consultant for Bloomberg’s mayoral bids in New York, correctly says that “we’ve never seen spending like this in a presidential race.” Since Bloomberg “has a limitless budget,” he’ll undoubtedly poor hundreds of millions more into it. After all, his main focus is on the Super Tuesday (March 3) states rather than on the four early voting states (Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada and New Hampshire).
As of now, he has spent more than $14 million in California (416 delegates), in Texas (228 pledged delegates) and in Florida. The latter state votes one week after Super Tuesday and has 219 delegates on offer.
With $83 million in ad buys so far, Steyer is also spending lavishly. The third-biggest spender is Mayor Pete Buttigieg with a paltry (?) $19 million. Unlike Bloomberg, Steyer is focusing on the early four states. He’s especially investing heavily in South Carolina, where he has put a lot of resources into television spots, emails, and in building up a respectable ground game. And yes, it slowly seems to be paying off for him. Where he was a non-entity only a few weeks ago, he’s now polling in fifth place in South Carolina. Note: Buttigieg is polling at 6% in South Carolina.
All this spending causes Nick Stapleton, vice president of analytics at Ad Analytics, to conclude that “we’re running out of ways to describe [it] at this point. It’s pretty difficult to make a comparison… You’re looking at one-third of Obama’s 2012 total spend through the general in one month.”
The good news? Bloomberg and Steyer are proving that Democrats’ supposed hatred for billionaires is nothing more or less than theater. They don’t hate billionaires at all. They hate Trump because he’s a Republican. If billionaires support the Democratic Party, on the other hand, they’re all too happy with them.