Bloomberg Is Saying All the Right Things About Party Unity—For Now

Check back in July.

Bloomberg

Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/ZUMA

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Michael Bloomberg hasn’t been a Democrat for long. The billionaire White House hopeful began his adult life in the party of FDR, but he switched to the GOP when he ran for mayor of New York City in 2001, winning the endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. Bloomberg later became an independent and then changed his registration to back Democratic in 2018, after endorsing Barack Obama in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Now, as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination in a historically unorthodox and mind-mindbogglingly expensive campaign, Bloomberg is trying to demonstrate his commitment to his once-and-current party with a promise to fund 500 staffers and a $15 million voter turnout operation to support the eventual nominee. That news, first reported by NBC, came with a lingering question: Would he commit those kinds of resources to electing the Democratic nominee, no matter who it is? What if it’s Democratic-Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (currently leading in Iowa), or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren—both of whom have pilloried the influence of the uber-rich and have accused the Bloomberg of trying to buy the nomination.

Now Politico‘s Holly Otterbein adds some clarity: Yes, Bloomberg says he plans to spend big, even if that means spending big on behalf of Sanders and Warren.

That comes on the same day the Daily Beast reports that Bloomberg—after spending $200 million on his candidacy—is currently on pace to pick up zero delegates.

That’s potentially a very big deal. Bloomberg has faced criticism from some Democrats for his support of Republicans in the recent past. (In 2018, he raised money for New York Republican Reps. Peter King and Dan Donovan.) What’s more, the news comes amid a months-long drumbeat of other Democratic donors on Wall Street threatening to pull their money from the party if someone like Warren is the nominee.

But of course, this all comes with a giant caveat. The whole point of advertising in advance how magnanimous you’ll be to the eventual nominee is to convince people of your loyalty so they’ll make you the nominee instead. It’s one thing to say this in January; it’s another to follow through with it in July.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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