Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his presidential run official on Sunday while rolling out a two-minute campaign video that touts his start in life as a “middle-class kid who had to work his way through college and built a business from a single room to global entity that created tens of thousands of jobs.”
The ad then pivots to the former mayor bringing a “city back from the ashes” of the 9/11 attacks. The ad continues by touting the number of jobs created under the three terms Bloomberg held office, his record of creating affordable housing, his stance on equality, and his funding of a movement taking on the NRA.
Eventually the ad gets around to Bloomberg’s motivation to seek higher office. The narrator segues from the “menace of climate change” to President Donald Trump, whom Bloomberg “sees as a different kind of menace.”
The ad then goes on to list what the candidate thinks are the needs of the country, from expanded health care to jobs. Then, while showing the front of Trump Tower in New York, the ad calls for the wealthy to pay “their fair share in taxes.”
Bloomberg is putting his billions to work by funding a record-setting $31 million TV ad buy that puts him in second in TV spending among the Democratic field, only trailing fellow billionaire Tom Steyer. Bloomberg’s TV ad buy is the most ever spent by a candidate in a single week. The former mayor also plans on spending tons of money on Facebook ad buys and has hired Facebook’s former chief marketing officer to oversee his digital efforts. But that’s just the beginning. Reportedly, Bloomberg plans to spend at least half a billion dollars on his presidential campaign.
Bloomberg’s big-money campaign rollout provides a telling moment in American politics: The former Republican is running in the Democratic primary as a counterweight to the party’s leftward shift. And it is, to date, unclear if there’s a broad constituency for his vision. Typically, without such a proven constituency, a candidate might struggle with the fundraising levels needed to capture public (or press) attention.