Billionaire philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he will invest at least $500 million of his own money to make sure Donald Trump is not re-elected in 2020.
The money is pocket change for Bloomberg, whose estimated net worth is $56.1 billion.
Last year, Bloomberg’s donations marked him as the second-biggest philanthropist in the country, with causes including climate change and gun control.
“When Mike Bloomberg is committed to making a difference and seeing something through, generally speaking he’s pretty unabashed in doing so,” says Bloomberg’s top adviser Kevin Sheekey.
In this case, Bloomberg will use the $500 million to fund a “data-heavy” ad campaign “designed to operate as a shadow political party for the eventual Democratic nominee,” reports Politico.
Bloomberg is also considering launching his own bid, in which case the $500 million would be used to fund his campaign into the primary season. He is expected to make a final decision by the end of the month.
“Five hundred million is just an obscene amount of money,” says a Democratic consultant close to Bloomberg. “It’s crazy, enough to buy up all the TV ad inventory in the seven or eight states that really matter in a primary.”
To compare, Trump spent about $325 million funding his entire presidential campaign.
Last November, Bloomberg organized a top-notch political team to analyze voter data and design a campaign to stop Trump. According to the consultant, the team is going to “do the infrastructure and logistical work to fill in the gaps for the state and national parties so that whoever the nominee is would inherit a state-of-the-art, fully functioning infrastructure.”
The team is said to be very familiar with the primary election calendar and the complexities associated with the DNC. They’re also aware of the stigma now associated with white billionaire males and the potential problems associated with Bloomberg’s Republican history (he served his first two terms as NYC mayor as a Republican and his third as an Independent on the GOP ticket).
Nonetheless, polls suggest that up to 80% of Democratic primary voters view him favorably.
Author’s Note: Bloomberg’s announcement comes amid a steady rise of self-funded millionaire and billionaire candidates who can launch ad campaigns without fundraising.
This is impossible for other candidates, whose funds are limited by campaign finance laws. This disparity leads to less advertising, fewer resources and staff, and fewer votes.