I say this out of love and a desire to see an experienced, democracy-loving individual in the White House next year: Michael Bloomberg, you’re botching this.
I worked with the small team exploring Bloomberg’s potential presidential run in 2016. When he decided against entering the race, I was heartbroken. Now four years later, I’m dumbfounded by how his campaign is being run. I don’t mean to come off as unappreciative. I just care much more about removing President Donald Trump from office. And right now, the team is hurting.
Bloomberg is making the same mistake that executives make when they’ve been too insulated from the ground game. He may think that he’s purchased the best that money could buy in hiring execs from Silicon Valley, but they’re all an arms-length away from us, the people.
Those hyped up hucksters spending that money are all part of the WeWork cohort — over-valued and out of touch.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is the Trump of the left (in terms of populist appeal, not horrifying amorality), but Bloomberg looks more like WeWork’s Adam Neumann — throwing around cash like it’s meaningless. Wasting it. That’s alienating to any American that has to work for a living. It’s a bad look. The question moderate Americans are asking themselves after this last week is: If Bloomberg wins the election, how will he run our White House? Will he just buy any cool-sounding bullshit that the Zuckerburgs of the world sell him?
Sure looks like it.
Bloomberg needs to take a hard look at his team. He needs to manage the managers. Get back in. Take control of the people who think they are allowed to spend his money on meatballs and memes. They have lost that trust.
He needs to appreciate that he’s going up against a billion-dollar disinformation machine — a take-no-prisoners, scorched earth, lawless, amoral juggernaut with a state-run media apparatus at his disposal. Did you hear, they’re playing Sputnik radio in Kansas City? Literally, Russian propaganda. In the immortal words of Walter Sobchak: “No Donny, these men are Nihilists.”
But, just because you can buy a billion dollars worth of ads, should you? My answer is: Yes. Yes. Of course yes. Trump earned the equivalent of $2 billion worth of media in 2016. To beat him in 2020, the winner must match that. So keep pouring money onto the field and soften those targets. But stay on brand. Say it with me: steady-handed professionalism. That’s his brand. Instead, Bloomberg’s team is all over the place.
Anyone in the campaign who participated in that profile to the New York Times about how much they are paid should be fired immediately. The whole lot of them. I’m sorry, is that too ruthless? It was embarrassing and shameful. Do they think this is an awesome recruiting tactic? Nuh nuh nuh nuh nooooo.
Whoever literally bought the meme factory should be canned. They have no respect for the power of money and are using it haphazardly. Bloomberg should be embarrassed. Stop with the dogs. Stop with the meatballs. Stop with the memes. We don’t want him to be funny. We get it. He can take a joke. It’s a differentiating factor between him and that cynical oaf that’s in the White House.
Also, his decision to apologize for past comments (and actions) about race and gender is way too little, way too late. What’s the plan? No one expects him to make up for 243 years of oppression to women and minorities, and I’ve not earned the right to pontificate about whether the past is behind us or not. However, in order to move forward, we need to re-enfranchise millions of black Americans who have been gerrymandered out of power, purged from the voter rolls, and incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of white men. Stop and frisk is morally indefensible. Stop apologizing. What’s the plan? Don’t fuck this up.
I hate myself for saying this, but Bloomberg needs to stop talking about guns. I grew up in Florida. I owned guns. I am a Democrat. I went to Taravella High School in Coral Springs, Florida, two miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the site of the Parkland shooting in 2018. Parkland, like my home town of Coral Springs, is in Broward County — the infamous Broward County. Many of my closest friends went to MSD. The darkness that hangs over the west end of our town is palpable. The city has not recovered. The school will never be the same. I support strong, dramatic gun control. But you know who doesn’t? Some 37% of Florida Independents.
Democrats in Broward County and the rest of Florida can rest assured that Bloomberg will take up the anti-gun violence cause once in office, but he has to stop talking about it. He can make a donation to March for Our Lives if he wants to. It’s not that he shouldn’t push for strong measures as it relates to gun violence. He should, but only after he’s elected. The disinformation machine in Florida has captured the state and even a common-sense policy like background checks will be twisted like a pretzel.
Bloomberg’s supporters know who he is and what he stands for. For those that don’t, once he secures the nomination, Bloomberg never has to say a word about gun violence because any rational Democrat will vote for him anyway, especially in bright blue Broward County. But he must win Florida. He can win it with his brand. Say it again with me: steady-handed professionalism. I hate myself. I’m gonna throw up.
Once he fires his team, Bloomberg needs to take some advice from the other side. He needs to read former devious right-wing strategist Rick Wilson’s new book, Running Against The Devil: A Plot to Save America From Trump and the Democrats From Themselves. Buy it. Read it. Roll it up and smoke it.
Remember: Bill Weld got 9% of the Republican vote in the Iowa primary. That means 9% of white-assed Republicans want an alternative to Trump. Bloomberg only needs to take 3% of the registered Republicans nationwide, and Weld has given credence to the idea that there may be 9%. Sanders can probably take some of that, but what will he lose in exchange? Bloomberg can have them for free.
He just needs to be himself. Be the aloof, pragmatic, steady leader that makes us believe that he will right the ship. He should recognize that those hyped up hucksters spending that money are all part of the WeWork cohort — over-valued and out of touch. Hire a team of passionate moderates. The silent majority exists, and it’s hungry for some Mike Meat. #mikemeat? No. Don’t. Okay. I gotta go.