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Juan Williams: The door is open for Bloomberg

Greg Nash

One of the best responses to President Trump’s State of the Union address last week came from a Michael Bloomberg ad.

“The Real State of the Union? A nation divided by an angry, out of control president. A White House beset by lies, chaos, and corruption,” a narrator says in a Bloomberg ad. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Next year we can have a leader who brings people together…Mike Bloomberg will get it done.”

Bloomberg is not on the ballot in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. He was absent in Iowa last week. And he will be absent in upcoming races in Nevada and South Carolina.

{mosads}But while standing on the sidelines, Bloomberg changed the game by pledging to double his already sky-high spending on TV advertising. According to multiple reports, Bloomberg has spent around $300 million on TV, radio and digital advertising since entering the race in November.

Bloomberg had one big reason to double down. Joe Biden, the top candidate for centrist Democrats, finished fourth in Iowa.

Bloomberg’s ambition got another lift last week when the Democratic National Committee issued new rules for qualifying for upcoming debates. With a donor requirement removed, Bloomberg will be on the debate stage from now on.

Bloomberg is not known for charisma, one-on-one or on the debate stage.

But his money makes him very attractive to primary voters as the answer for the top question on their mind: How do Democrats stop the threat of a second Trump term?

Exit polls coming out of Iowa last week confirmed what nationwide polls have been saying for months: Democrats’ top priority is selecting a nominee who gives them confidence in beating Trump in November.

For five years, politicians on the left and right have looked for the best way to respond to Trump’s populist appeals to working class, white voters with attacks on ‘the swamp’ of government workers, FBI officials, educated elites, immigrants, blacks and Latinos, and strong women — most recently Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The Bush family, the Clinton family and every formidable political force in-between — including major political donors from the Koch family on the right to George Soros on the left — have searched for the magic formula to respond to Trump’s gleeful appeals to right-wing grievance and anger.

Bloomberg’s simple answer: money, money, and more money.

For example, Bloomberg spent $11 million on a 60-second Super Bowl ad calling for new gun control laws.

It was a powerful ad, full of drama as a mother grieves over her child’s loss of life. And it was a clear rebuke to Trump’s caving to the gun lobby despite constant gun violence and mass shootings.

In contrast, Biden’s pitch to Iowa voters — in person and in ads — was that Trump will lose if the election is a referendum on the president’s bullying, his chaos and racism.

{mossecondads}As a moderate former senator and vice president who is well-liked by Republicans and Democrats, blacks and whites, Biden argued that his presence as the Democrat on the ballot would force voters to focus on Trump’s troubling antics.

But if Biden can’t win in Nevada and South Carolina — after losing in Iowa and likely in New Hampshire — then the door opens for Bloomberg to be crowned as the Democrat with the best chance to beat Trump.

Unlike Biden, Bloomberg has yet to face the full force of a Trump barrage. Meanwhile, his first hurdle is winning the Democratic nomination.

Bloomberg is spending heavily on advertising in the states that will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3.

More than one-third of the Democrats’ available delegates will be up for grabs that day, in big states such as California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Bloomberg’s biggest weapon at the moment is the Democratic establishment’s fear of Bernie Sanders.

“If Sanders soars through the first four primaries…Mike may end up as the only thing standing between Bernie and the nomination,” Bradley Tusk, who managed Bloomberg’s 2009 mayoral campaign and is advising the presidential run, told the Atlantic magazine last week. “A large portion of the party believes that Bernie can’t beat Trump — and that beating Trump is all that matters.”

Democrats have a credible fear that Sanders’s unabashed embrace of far-left policies will make him a big target for Trump’s fear-mongering about ‘socialist’ politics.

Trump taunted Bloomberg by falsely claiming that the 5’8” former mayor requested a box to stand on behind the debate podium.

But Trump’s ridicule can’t turn off Bloomberg’s money. 

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

Tags 2020 Democratic primary 2020 presidential election Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg money in politics Nancy Pelosi

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