How Bloomberg Ate Biden’s Lunch In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE: As you may have noticed if you’ve been near a TV recently and it was turned on and dialed in to pretty much any channel, ever since Mike Bloomberg formally announced his intentions back in November to throw his hat into the Dem presidential ring, he’s been aggressively prosecuting a coast to coast air campaign, carpet bombing swing states and inflection points all along the primary map with a vast arsenal of pithy, pointed anti-Trump television spots that run with the kind of ubiquity and perpetuity that you’d have to be a billionaire many times over to bankroll. His 60-second Super Bowl ad alone cost $10 million. But it just so happens that Bloomberg, captain of industry and three-term mayor of New York City, is the 9th richest man on Earth, according to Forbes 2019 ranking of the world’s 2,153 billionaires, with a net worth just south of $60 billion. When you get to that level of wealth, buying the American presidency out right — which was unthinkable before Citizen’s United — is, in the grand scheme of billionaire things, chump change. Guys like Bloomberg — let’s call them The Obscenely Wealthy — could conceivably single-handedly bankroll the next 10 American presidencies at a cost of a billion per term and still be one of the ten richest men alive. Think about it: if each candidate wins two terms, that’s nearly a century’s worth of American presidents chosen by one man.

“He is spending more money on television than Apple or Microsoft or Ford or GM or McDonalds,” says Oxman. “Between now and the convention, that [media] buy will approach a billion dollars — a billion with a B! His marketing is the best, his spots are the best spots on TV. The guy’s already in third. He’s only been doing this in a serious way for two months and he’s already one point behind Biden.”

While Bloomberg’s ads always have Trump in the cross-hairs, the real target all along has been Biden, who has enjoyed front runner and presumptive nominee status in national polls since kicking off his campaign back in May with rally at the foot of the Art Museum steps. Tan, rested, flashing his trademark thousand watt grin, and clearly still basking in the reflected glow of Obama’s halo, Biden radiated a gentle decency and warmth, not to mention stability, that both contrasted sharply with his presumptive opponent and resonated with his no-frills/no-thrills back-to-the-future message: Let’s Make America 2008 Again. And despite the occasional gaffe (to be expected, he is after all the LeBron James of putting your foot in your mouth, and we love him for it) and unmistakable signs that, at 77, he has “lost a step,” as the euphemism goes, Uncle Joe had an aura of soft-spoken invincibility and inevitability all the while rocking his badass midnight black aviators with his malarkey meter set for kill. But the sad fact is, the Dem faithful’s support for Biden’s candidacy has had a slow leak for the better part of the past year. Back in the April 2019 Quinnipiac poll, 38% of Dems named Biden as their top choice for the nomination, by November that support had fallen to 24% and by the beginning of February, that support had deflated to just 17%. MORE