Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City, entered the Democratic primary in late November. Since then, he has gone from polling very poorly (around 2%) to now polling 9% nationally.
How did this happen? How did someone with little to no name recognition outside of New York rise in the polls so quickly? Bloomberg is even beating candidates like Pete Buttigieg, who has been in the race since the beginning and has had significant press coverage.
The rise is also peculiar, considering Michael Bloomberg has not appeared on a debate stage, nor does he take any donations. His campaign is entirely self-funded.
The answer? Money. Michael Bloomberg has a fortune of $54 billion dollars, making him the 9th richest person in the United States. He is the cofounder of Bloomberg LP, one of the most significant news and media companies in the United States.
It is this collected wealth that is funding Bloomberg’s campaign. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg has spent $300 million dollars thus far in his campaign. A huge portion of this was dedicated to TV and digital ads (nearly $200 million in the first five weeks).
The results of those ads? Bloomberg is currently polling at 9% in the latest NBC/WSJ poll.
Regardless of what you think of Bloomberg’s politics, this is alarming. Michael Bloomberg, with no real vetting of his ideas and no grassroots support, has purchased the support of voters. This is emblematic of the plutocratic corrosion of our political processes.
When money so easily translates to political power, it is hard to believe we live in a truly democratic system.
To worsen the problem, the DNC is now changing their debate rules to allow Michael Bloomberg onto the debate stage. Previously, the DNC had stringent individual donor requirements to allow candidates on the debate stage. This makes polling the only significant factor in qualifying in the debates.
Previously, the DNC would not allow candidates like Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang on the debate stage, despite having larger grassroots support than other candidates who polled higher. Cory Booker and Julian Castro have also asked for changes in the DNC rules to offer more diversity. When it came to these requests, the DNC was unwavering.
If you ever wonder what buying an election looks like, one only has to look at the Bloomberg campaign.