Bloomberg’s plan to win nomination, Wisconsin and the presidency
Madison, Wis. (CBS 58) – Michael Bloomberg enters the 2020 presidential race with a lot of time and ground to make up in order to catch up to his democratic opponents, but the former New York City mayor and billionaire holds one major advantage over the entire field.
“Most of the candidates, save for [Tom] Steyer, are not billionaires,” said Mike Wagner, a professor at the School of Mass Communication at UW-Madison. “So they don’t have the personal resources to finance their campaign in the way that [Bloomberg] can.”
The campaign launched with a record-breaking $34 million ad buy, flexing the financial power of the billionaire’s campaign.
Bloomberg’s campaign says that he will not accept donations, something it touts as a way to prove that he is not in the pocket of special interests. However, that means he will not be able to appear on a democratic debate stage because of the DNC’s current rules to qualify to appear on stage.
Still, Bloomberg’s wealth has drawn criticism from front-runners.
“We do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders told voters.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren echoed that sentiment, telling reporters, “Elections should not be for sale. Not to billionaires, not to corporate executives.”
But even with ample funds to spend on his campaign, Bloomberg faces a steep challenge to win the nomination in an already crowded field. His campaign’s strategy will be to sit out early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and instead focus on racking up delegates in larger states that hold primaries later in the calendar.
“What we’re going to do is launch a national political campaign, where we’re not going to talk to people in one state and then a second state and then a third state,” said Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey on CNN. “We’re going to talk to everyone in the country at once.”
While prior winners of the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primaries many not have always won their party’s nomination, experts say it’s a gamble that potentially may not pan out.
“For people who are trying to get known, and trying to persuade activists and primary voters that they’re likely to stick around, doing poorly in those first two states can be a sign that they don’t have the opportunity to run the table later,” said Wagner.
Bloomberg’s challenge, Wagner says, will be to remain relevant during the first weeks of the primary season, when Iowa and New Hampshire are the focus.
But Bloomberg’s campaign believes it is laying down the groundwork for a successful plan that can carry their candidate to the presidential contest against President Donald Trump.
“The general election is in six states,” said Sheekey, Bloomberg’s campaign manager. “That’s it. Right? It’s in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida. That’s the whole general election. And right now, Donald Trump is winning.”
Sheekey added that even though Bloomberg thought he could best work to defeat the president as a private citizen that has changed.
“Mike [Bloomberg] was doing everything he could from the sidelines and he finally decided it wasn’t enough to sit on the sidelines and he needed to do what he could to alter that dynamic and so that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Prior to officially launching his campaign, Bloomberg announced a plan to spend between $15 million and $20 million in putting up voter registration drives in key battleground states targeting minority voters. One of those states included in that effort is Wisconsin.