By Robert P. Bomboy
As the hours dragged on after the misfiring of the Iowa caucuses last week, the expert panels on cable news had nothing to do. The results they wanted were not there all night, and would not be there even when the sun rose again; and all the commentators could do was fill, yada, yada, yada. Their irritation showed, and the networks were going bonkers, having spent millions on the fiasco and thinking about sheriffs in the old western movies who would have said, “It’ll be the rope for whoever did this.”
With their own primary only days away, New Hampshire Democrats felt rivulets of cold sweat on their backs.
In the meantime, an old tiger – declared for this November’s election but watching from the high grass – moved with the dawn to buy up even more campaign advertising. Mike Bloomberg, whose Super Bowl ad reached 100 million people, can buy every bit of advertising on cable and local television stations – at least $1 billion worth, or even twice that much – from now until November and not make a dent in his fortune.
After Iowa, I saw the Bloomberg floodgates open on my TV in Pennsylvania, even though that primary isn’t until the end of April. Nationwide, he expanded his campaign’s field staff to more than 2,000 workers who will concentrate on states that have more delegates and don’t begin voting until next month.
The all-wise bookmakers are betting that if the Democratic Party nominates anyone besides Bloomberg, that candidate in November will be outspent by 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1 by Donald Trump’s ads. If the party nominates Bloomberg, he will outspend Trump at least 5 to 1 and dramatically improve Democrats’ chances of winning seats at every level on the ticket, more than even the Blue Wave of 2018. As I’ve said before, many times, Money talks.
I confess that I am uneasy at the possibility that only billionaires representing the top one percent can now win the presidency. (As you know, I have maintained for years a database with 400 factual entries about income inequality [http://onepercentsearcher.blogspot.com]). Visiting California cities recently and sizing up its 538 electoral votes, Bloomberg saw a man holding a sign that read, “Billionaires should not buy elections.”
If Bloomberg ultimately captured the Democratic nomination, the battle between him and Trump would be both historic and histrionic. The money and the powers involved would literally shake down the thunder from the skies, pitting a silver-spoon billionaire whose millionaire father set him up for life, versus a self-made man whose father never earned more than $6,000 in any year yet once told his son, “If you have an opportunity to help, you have an obligation to act.” Bloomberg has given $10 billion to charitable causes. Trump misused his own foundation and was court-ordered last year to shut its doors and pay a $2 million penalty for what he had done.
As a three-term mayor of the nation’s largest and most influential city, Bloomberg helped raise New York’s air quality to the highest levels in 50 years and drove down crime to record lows; versus a president who cut away nearly 95 environmental protections during his presidency and once bragged that he could shoot someone on a New York street and get away with it.
Bloomberg supports education, women’s rights, and health care for all. Versus the author of a worldwide shame whose administration forcibly yanked little children out of the arms of their parents at our southern border and imprisoned them, like animals, in wire cages.
Trump has a decidedly purple history of sexual liaisons and paid a total of $280,000 in hush money to two beautiful women with whom he had affairs, so they wouldn’t jeopardize his 2016 election. He’s committed most of the seven deadly sins. As the Evangelical magazine Christianity Today said during the impeachment process: “None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
Robert P. Bomboy has written for more than 60 national magazines and is the author of six books, including the novel “Smart Boys Swimming in the River Styx.” He taught for more than 30 years in colleges and universities, and he has been a Ford Foundation Fellow at the University of Chicago and in Washington, D.C.