It is no secret that New York City billionaire Michael Bloomberg is exorbitantly rich. Good for him. But when people use their wealth to try to single-handedly purchase the most powerful position in the free world, that gives me pause.
Bloomberg shattered the record for money spent to win a primary, but quit the race when it became clear he simply could not win. He spent more than half-a-billion (yes, that’s a “b”) dollars to flood the airwaves and clog computers with his message; much of which was focused on destroying the Second Amendment.
His spending did elevate his name and his ego, but on Super Tuesday, when 14 states held their presidential primaries, and Bloomberg first appeared on an actual ballot, he did not win a single state.
Don’t shed a tear for Bloomberg, though. With a personal fortune estimated at north of $60 billion, he can afford several more failed primary runs like this. Although he implied he would remain in the race (and presumably continue spending ridiculous amounts of money) until someone has the majority of delegates and has secured the Democrat nomination, after the losses kept accumulating, he must have finally realized how foolish his quest was.
Was it ever even conceivable that he could actually buy the Democrat nomination?
Bloomberg did not take part in the early debates because he entered the race late, which might have saved him an even earlier exit given his atrocious first debate performance. And when he did enter the race, the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) rules for debate qualification required a candidate to take in a certain number of donations from individuals. Along with a rule requiring reaching polling thresholds, the individual-donor rule was likely intended to show a candidate has a certain level of popular support from citizens who are willing to part with their hard-earned cash to help finance someone in whom they believe.
But Bloomberg was using his own money to fund his campaign, so he could not meet the individual-donation requirement.
That did not deter the former mayor. Right around when Bloomberg announced his candidacy, he made about $800,000 in contributions to the DNC and 44 state Democratic Party committees. Then, during the debates before the Iowa Caucus debacle, Bloomberg ran advertisements where he stated, “The party rules prevent me from debating. If they change the rules, I’ll be happy to join it.”
Shortly thereafter, the DNC changed its debate-qualifications rule, eliminating the individual-donor standard.
While the DNC had been steadily INCREASING the threshold for qualifying for a debate, for both polling numbers and individual donors, after Bloomberg maxed out what he could contribute to the Committee, and had begun running ads about him not being included in the debates, something seemed to change. Suddenly, the individual-donor requirement was completely eliminated.
Weird how that worked out for him.
During the second debate for which Bloomberg now suddenly qualified, in Charleston, S.C., the man who hoped to buy the presidency nearly spilled the beans on what he did during the 2018 election cycle.
While discussing how great he was for Democrats because he spent $100 million of his own money (perhaps the first payment to ensure his place on the debate stage) to help elect 21 Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2018 mid-term elections, he appeared to nearly claim to have “bought” them.
In Virginia in 2019, he and the anti-gun organization he funds, Everytown/Mom’s Demand, spent millions of dollars to ensure Democrats would have a majority in the state legislature to push one of the most aggressive anti-gun agendas ever seen.
Coincidentally, or maybe not, many of the elected officials that benefitted from Bloomberg campaign contributions endorsed his candidacy for president.
Again, weird how that has worked out for him.
But buying elected positions was hardly new territory for Bloomberg.
In 2001, when Bloomberg won his first election to be mayor of New York City, he spent $74 million. For perspective, Rudy Giuliani, Bloomberg’s immediate predecessor, spent under $10 million to win the previous election cycle. He then spent $85 million to win reelection in 2005, and $102 million to win a third term in 2009.
That third term cost Bloomberg about $174 per vote. Dollars spent per vote is a common metric used when discussing the cost of campaigns. And while the metric may be common, what Bloomberg spent was not. Again, for perspective, Giuliani spent less than $10 per vote. President Donald Trump spent less than $5 per vote to win the White House in 2016.
That third term also came after Bloomberg convinced the City Council to overturn the two-term limit that was in place at the time, in spite of the fact that New Yorkers had already voted twice (in 1993 and 1996) to impose limits. Just to show how popular Bloomberg’s third-term idea was, New Yorkers voted yet again to impose the two-term limit in 2010, with an overwhelming 74% supporting reinstating the limit.
Clearly, Bloomberg feels that his substantial wealth makes virtually any public office his to purchase. He purchased New York City’s mayor office three times, bought an anti-gun majority in Virginia and the U.S. House of Representatives, and he tried to buy the White House.
But his wealth is not just used to purchase public offices. He also uses it to assault the Second Amendment, and it allows him to show how much of an unbelievable hypocrite he is, and how much disdain he has for “average” Americans.
During an early March town hall event hosted by Fox News, an attendee asked the then-candidate how he could justify promoting banning from American citizens the same firearms and magazines that his armed security detail likely carries.
“Does your life matter more than mine or my family’s or these people’s?” he asked.
Bloomberg explained that, as a wealthy public figure (Yes, he considered his wealth to be a factor in determining the appropriateness of how he was allowed to protect himself) who has held office and was seeking the presidency at the time, he got a lot of threats. He also explained that he paid for his personal-security detail. Curiously, at no point did he try to assure the audience that he did not feel his life is more important.
In other words, Bloomberg seems to be under the impression that common citizens do not face any threats in their daily lives, but if they do, all they need do to ensure their safety from violent attackers bent on doing harm to them or their loved ones is to hire professional armed guards.
Following his non-answer about the value of his life against that of the most Americans, he went on to claim that all he wanted to do regarding expanding gun control was to promote expanding background check requirements as they relate to gun shows and online sales.
Of course, his “explanation” of this position was riddled with misinformation, showing that Bloomberg has a pitiful understanding of gun laws. He clearly just doesn’t like the idea of law-abiding citizens having firearms, but he doesn’t care enough to educate himself on the subject. His answer, as it seems to be to everything, is throw money around.
In the case of guns, he simply offers an open checkbook to anti-gun organizations and lets them work out the details.
But even his claim that his “only” position on guns involves gun shows and the Internet was demonstrably false, as a quick visit to his old campaign site would prove.
Bloomberg’s own website stated his support for gun bans, permitting/licensing schemes, waiting periods, gun confiscation, government-mandated storage requirements and removing protections from gun manufacturers that prevent anti-gun activists from suing them out of existence by trying to hold them accountable for the actions of violent criminals. And that’s not even the whole list of anti-gun measures the former mayor promoted as a candidate for president.
The billions in Bloomberg’s bank account have left him so out of touch with what the average American citizen experiences or wants, it is unsettling, to say the least. While he indicated he was willing to spend whatever it takes to try to be the Democrat nominee for president in November, he finally relized that his resources and hubris were not enough to buy the most important office in the world.
Although he came up short, he will certainly continue to use his vast fortune to try to destroy the Second Amendment, with absolutely no regard as to how it may impact American’s 100 million law-abiding gun owners. He has, after all, made it abundantly clear he does not believe in the general public using firearms to ensure their own personal protection.
In this billionaire’s world, personal security can be “easily” achieved through well-paid professionals. If you cannot afford that, then that’s just too bad. And if you think Bloomberg cannot afford to continue to influence this election and public policy on firearms with his bank account, remember that he hasn’t even dipped into 1% of his fortune with the money blown on his failed campaign.
Since his crushing defeat on Super Tuesday, he has endorsed Joe Biden and established a Super PAC (although the name had not been revealed before this issue went to press) through which he can funnel his billions to support anti-gun candidates and attack President Trump. And his media empire will surely be utilized to run “news” stories that cast Trump in a negative light and elevate Biden.
Bloomberg came up short with his bid to be the Democrat nominee, and all gun owners must continue to work together to ensure his new goal of using his billions to buy our rights remains similarly out of reach.