Thursday, February 13, 2020


Recently unearthed pronouncements from Michael Bloomberg's past -- on stop and frisk, redlining, and trans rights -- might not end his bid for the presidency, but they sure seem disqualifying. Until now, he's impressed a lot of Democratic voters with his aggressive attacks on President Trump, but I don't believe his campaign can survive all this.

That's appropriate, but it's regrettable in one way: He seemed as if he could give Trump the fight of his life. I say this not just because of his eagerness to express contempt for the president, but also because he would have been the ideal candidate to take advantage of a serious weakness in the Trump campaign -- the inclination to do things like this:
Trump held preemptive rallies in both Iowa and New Hampshire and blanketed both states with dozens of top surrogates, including members of the first family, ... while volunteers on the ground carried out a massive get-out-the-vote effort....

And thanks to the sweeping effort, the president walked away from Iowa having smashed incumbent turnout records. He did the same in New Hampshire, turning out more than 120,000 votes in the Granite State....

“We wanted to make sure we put on a show of force and deliver results for this president and we did,” Trump campaign principal deputy communications director Erin Perrine told ABC News when asked about their primary push. “When we step up and we turn on we deliver.”
Why? Why even bother to fight for a primary win when a massive victory is certain? The campaign says it's to project a sense of party unity:
But the broad attempt to boost Trump’s numbers in first two uncompetitive GOP primary contests was not only a show of force, it’s in line with the campaign’s larger effort to project a Republican Party that’s fully unified behind the president ahead of the summer convention in Charlotte which advisers plan to turn into a week-long reelection ad for the president.

While Trump enjoys wide-spread support among Republicans, his political team is sharply aware of the impact party “disunity” can have on a president running for re-election.

“We studied why past incumbent presidents usually win reelection,” a senior Trump advisor said. “History tells us that incumbent presidents usually win reelection. But when they don’t, there’s a commonality in their losses … Bush 41, Carter, Ford and Taft all lost reelection because they were fighting primary battles up until the very end.”
Does anyone think Trump has problems in this area? Can anyone not read the polls that show Trump with stratospherically high levels of approval within his party?

Barack Obama won reelection without doing this. So did George W. Bush. So did Bill Clinton. Why was this done?

I assume it was done for two reasons: the campaign felt the need to salve Trump's remarkably fragile ego, and it also wanted to impress him with a massive show of force. But that massive show of force must have massively expensive -- and every dime spent on it was wasted.

Now, maybe it doesn't matter that the Trump campaign is wasting money. The Trumpers have massive amounts of cash on hand and cash coming in. Against an ordinary candidate, even one with the fund-raising prowess of Bernie Sanders, they might be able to waste money and still outspend the challenger on things that count.

But against Bloomberg, that wouldn't be the case. The Trump campaign would be frittering money away on wasteful efforts like this and Bloomberg would be outspending the Trumpers in critical areas. The Trump campaign couldn't just burn money on the assumption that Democrats have less.

Maybe the Democrats will get to take advantage of Bloomberg's money even if he's not the nominee. If so, I hope they use it wisely, because Team Trump isn't doing the same with its money.

No comments: