Why Bloomberg is the Greatest Threat to Trump’s Re-election
Michael Bloomberg has plenty of reasons to hide his true intentions and plans.
They are opaque by design for many reasons, one of which is that it gives him multiple options, depending on how things play out.
Is Bloomberg, the possible Presidential candidate, the reason he is “the greatest threat to Trump’s re-election?”
Is Bloomberg’s money “the greatest threat to Trump’s re-election?”
The greatest threat to Trump’s re-election is Bloomberg’s data project, or as I call it, Bloomberg’s big data machine.
Why is it big? According to media reports, he has spent untold tens of millions of dollars and about a year building it.
Here’s another reason it’s big: when asked which data the Bloomberg big data machine would use, the team building it said very simply: “all the data.” All the data they can vacuum up or buy.
Then he tested his big data machine several weeks ago in the off-year elections.
His team publicly said they tested it state-wide in Virginia. He used his Everytown group (and likely others) to identify new voters, persuade new voters and turn out the vote of friendly new voters. And this November, Virginia set a new record for turnout in an off-year election. The result was a Blue Wave within the borders of Virginia. The Dems crushed the ball.
My guess is Bloomberg also tested the big data machine Pennsylvania too. All the indications are there that Bloomberg did: there was a Blue Wave confined to the borders of Pennsylvania too and Republican ramparts they’ve held since the civil war fell by margins that indicate the success of the Bloomberg big data machine in turning out new voters.
Bloomberg is not a billionaire like Tom Steyer, Howard Schultz or George Soros who deploy money in politics and policy, with limited success. Bloomberg has been a three-time candidate and elected official for three four year terms as Mayor of New York City. This sets him apart.
Bloomberg just caused two statewide waves in elections held three weeks ago. The big data machine works, in other words.
Data is what Bloomberg has made his fortune off of, as well as products like “Bloomberg Intelligence.” It can be said that Bloomberg’s entire news operation is really an open-source intelligence service.
(One millennial House staffer told me recently that the Bloomberg fact sheet on him that is available to all Bloomberg.gov subscribers included a listing of an award he won seven years ago, that he had forgotten he had won. He immediately went about a massive scrub down of his entire social media history, but likely, a little late.)
Bloomberg just announced he is buying $100 million in anti-Trump digital ads in Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. These ads are not to help Bloomberg’s Presidential primary campaign.
The real reason is that the ads will help feed and populate the big data machine to help ID anti-Trump voters or ID undecideds to persuade them to vote against Trump and then use the data on election-day to turnout the anti-Trump vote.
$25 million per battleground state is a lot of money for internet ads. And the sea of ads that usually hit in the fall of next year are not even seen now, so Bloomberg has an uncluttered field to present his messages.
On a dollar for dollar basis, it will be very difficult for President Trump to compete with a tens of millions of dollar investment (or more) in a big data effort, and a $100 million digital ad buy in the four most important swing states, a year before the election.
Neither can the Republican Party compete on that level of resources, nor, for that matter, can the Democratic Party.
Bloomberg is in a class by himself, where his operations out-size those of President Trump or other national political institutions.
Bloomberg’s operation in Virginia wiped the floor with the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups. It was an epic defeat of one of the two remaining grassroots organizations the GOP have still standing, and the gun groups are not used to losing and are, quite frankly, reeling from the defeat. They blamed Bloomberg in their post-election comments:
“Candidates who proudly accepted Bloomberg’s cash—and every voter they misled—will soon realize the cost of being beholden to a Manhattan billionaire who despises Virginians’ right to self-defense.”
The NRA then talked about places its candidates won, notably in places Bloomberg’s big data machine was not pointed: “Fortunately, many NRA-backed candidates in Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky, and Mississippi prevailed over their Bloomberg-funded opponents.”
This is not the first time Bloomberg has intervened in elections and changed the result. Here is the New York Times describing Bloomberg’s impact on the mid-term elections:
“Records filed so far show that organizations controlled and funded by Mr. Bloomberg spent more than $41 million on 24 House races, much of it on eye-catching ads rolled out on social media and broadcast on television in the crucial final days of the campaign. And while it’s impossible to conclude that anyone factor tipped the balance in a race, Mr. Bloomberg appears to have reaped the benefits of his millions in giving. Democrats won 21 of the 24 races he sought to influence. Of those, 12 had been considered either tossups or in Republican districts.”
Twenty-one out of twenty-four is an 87.5% success rate. And that is before Bloomberg started building his big data machine.
Put it this way, between Bloomberg’s big data machine and his money, Bloomberg now is the apex predator of political operatives.
It is clear that Bloomberg’s big data machine works. It does what it was designed to do, win elections. My guess is that the off-year election results a couple of weeks ago were enhanced by AI (Artificial Intelligence) sorting and targetting voters based on AI using “all the data.” This would explain the PA and VA blue waves.
Creating a party-specific wave in a state you pick, is no small trick. If it was, everyone would be doing it.
The question is now, where will Bloomberg train this weapon?
And the answer is pretty clear. First, Bloomberg will use it on himself, for his own campaign for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency. Will Bloomberg run? Yes, media reports all point to Yes: Bloomberg is spending up to $30 million to secure 500,000 voter signatures to make sure he is on the ballot in upcoming states.
And secondly and simultaneously, he will use his big data machine to defeat President Trump.
The most interesting question, given all of the foregoing, is what will Bloomberg do if his campaign for President — as I have predicted — fails?
When Al Hunt, the former executive editor of Bloomberg News writes a column that states the real end game of Bloomberg the candidate is to force a brokered convention, where Bloomberg is a kingmaker, it is worth paying attention.
Ever since Hunt’s column, Bloomberg’s media influencers have likely been helping to plant the series of stories that postulate about the growing chances of a brokered convention. The Washington Post writes three days ago “Democrats Fear Long Primary Slog Could Drag into the Summer,” with a picture of Michael Bloomberg right below the headline. Today, the New Republic speculated about a Bloomberg forced brokered convention, albeit, with many caveats.
The mechanism of how Bloomberg influences the outcome of the Democratic Party nomination could be: i) his candidacy (unlikely); ii) forcing a brokered convention (possible, but not a high likelihood); iii) throwing his delegates to his choice of nominee during a brokered convention (the success of this strategy this depends on Bloomberg’s support from voters since delegates will help him to be king-maker); iv) using his money strategically to help him with each of the strategies above (most likely); or v) his deployment of his big data machine and his money (an absolute certainty.)
The most important determinate of who will win the Democratic nomination, in my view, is who Bloomberg will support once his own candidacy runs its course?
Given that Bloomberg’s stated reason for entering the Democratic nomination in the first place is the weakness of the current Democratic field, and his determination to remove Trump from office, it is likely none of the candidates that preceded Bloomberg will get his help or endorsement.
That leaves only Deval Patrick, a fellow moderate.
For President Trump, sidelining Bloomberg and his big data machine should be a top priority.
Under what conditions Bloomberg will stand down, if any, is an extremely important data point for President Trump. Senator Warren or Senator Sanders winning the nomination might cause Bloomberg to stand down — if he thinks they would be worse than Trump being re-elected.
From Trump’s perspective, if Bloomberg is not onside, meaning Trump will have to go to war with Bloomberg (an extremely high likelihood right now) and whether Jared Kushner has been tending the data garden that is credited for Trump’s victory, is of growing importance.
The question is, has Kushner’s widely reported middle east peace plan efforts or immigration plan formation taken him far afield of the reason he is able to even work on those issues?
Update 11/23/19: I just discovered a story from the New York Post quoting Cory Lewandowski, who said in August of 2018 that Bloomberg is the “only one” who could compete with Trump in 2020 as a candidate for President.