Thursday, December 19, 2019

The 2020 Update, Part 3: #DemDebate6

I have run out of time for an assembly of opinions on the ramifications of Labour/JeremyCorbyn's shellacking last Friday on the state of play for Bernard and Elizabeth.  I expect a question on the matter this evening, so I'll work that into tomorrow's postgame analysis.

We have one billionaire debating tonight and one not, as you may have noticed if your teevee has been on recently.

Michael Bloomberg has reportedly dropped more than $8 billion total on philanthropy throughout his life, and hundreds of millions more on key influence points around the Democratic Party.

The Washington Post reports that the billionaire and former New York City mayor has spent massive chunks of his approximately $55 billion net worth on groups that shape Democratic politics, even long before he entered the race for president and gave more than $600,000 to the party in recent weeks.

The Post notes that Bloomberg's status as a top donor to interest groups like Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the League of Conservation Voters, in addition to his massive donations to other political committees and key lawmakers, underscore his deep-rooted connections to those who decide the Democratic nomination he has entered the running for.

In just 2017 and 2018, the Post reported that Bloomberg's family foundation spent more than $900 million on causes like environmental groups and Planned Parenthood.

Bloomberg also targeted donations to counter-act groups that are popular among conservatives, including the National Rifle Association. The Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Action Fund drew about $63 million in 2017, with Bloomberg as the largest donor of an undisclosed amount, according to the Post.

Bloomberg's spending has already made headlines in the race to 2020, as he dropped $30 million in November on a series of 60-second ads that will run next week in at least 29 states, according to The New York Times.

The massive funds stand in stark contrast to the first ad for his campaign, which was released when he announced his run on November 24. In it, Bloomberg is painted as a champion of working Americans and the middle class, emphasizing how different he is from Trump, a fellow New York business magnate.

The Post reported that Bloomberg has taken to addressing the outward similarities between he and Trump and not being shy to reference his wealth.

"I realize some people will say, 'Do we really want a general election between two New York billionaires?' To which I say, 'Who's the other one?" Bloomberg joked an address to members of the Texas Democratic Party, according to the Post. "If ever there was someone who is all hat and no cattle, it is Donald Trump."

Bloomey hasn't just bankrolled causes; he's bailing out the party, at the state level as well as nationally.  He's dropped wads on minority voter registration efforts in five states already, including Texas.  Now that's a big deal for anybody who's been around these parts long enough to remember when those herding the Donkeys in Austin were forced to beg for donations just to keep the lights on in the offices.  I'm so old I can recall when Fred Baron and Steve Mostyn -- Jeebus rest their souls -- were being counted on to save Lone Star Democrats from bankruptcy.

And Bloomer's strategy with his massive ad buys and no individual contributors lets he, alone, shape his message, pick up the earned media (all the chattering class ever wants to do is talk about fundraising), and avoid having to answer sticky questions in the debates, like why did you become a Democrat just last year, and what about stop-and-frisk and your women problem and your journalism censoring and such.

His largesse has collected him support from Texas armadillos like Gilberto Hinojosa and Dallas County DP Chair Carol Donovan.  Most everyone understands that Bloomberg is in because Joe Biden has one foot in the assisted living facility and the other foot on a banana peel.

Tom Steyer, speaking tonight -- and rumored to be targeting the front-runners who have no "bidness experience" -- doesn't have Bloomboy's bucks nor his political background.  Still somewhat the same challenges as Moneybags Mike, though.

Tom Steyer has self-funded $83.6 million so far on advertising for his campaign. Such spending has allowed Steyer to squeak his way into Thursday’s debate by achieving the national polling threshold mandated by the DNC.

Steyer’s policies, however, have clearly not resonated with Americans enough, as he’s also found himself stuck at 4 per cent.

And it's a four-person race, with some suggesting it's about to be two.  Biden's Palmetto State firewall is cracking, and if he's seeping African American support there ... well, that's why Buttigieg and Klobuchar and the billionaires are hanging around.

I'll skip Yang and Tulsi and whoever is left, onstage and off.  I don't believe I've ever included the thoughts of the WaPo's Jennifer Rubin in this blog, so here's a first.

And there's more.

This is blind-hog-finds-masting-of-acorns stuff.  Conservatives are starting to get it; Donkey centrists are as usual slow on the uptake.

Conservative commentator Johnny Burtka argued Tuesday that Sen. Bernie Sanders is best equipped to take on President Trump on the debate stage.

“Bernie clearly has the pugnacity,” Burtka, executive director for The American Conservative magazine, told Hill.TV. “He’s the only one that I think could ultimately take on Donald Trump on the debate stage.”

Maybe the Bernie Blackout has ended.

2. Bernie Sanders: Don't call it a comeback! Actually, do. Because the Vermont senator, who was sidelined earlier this fall by a heart attack, has emerged from that health scare with a new momentum -- especially among liberals. Sanders' poll numbers are up both nationally and in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Plus: Sanders ended September with more than $30 million left to spend on the race, meaning he is going to be in this race for a long time. (Previous ranking: 4)

Watching and Tweeting tonight, and blogging the aftermath tomorrow.

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