Billionaire Democratic candidates Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg have collectively spent $200 million on advertising.
To compare, Trump spent roughly $66 million of his own funds in 2016.
Bloomberg, whose net worth is $56.1 billion, spent a whopping $120 million on ads during the first three weeks of his campaign – more than double the combined spending of every non-billionaire candidate in the race – and has spent more than $13 million each in California, Texas, and Florida.
“We’ve never seen spending like this in a presidential race,” says political strategist Jim McLaughlin. “He has a limitless budget.”
“We’re running out of ways to describe [the ad expenditures] at this point,” jokes advertising analyst Nick Stapleton. “You’re looking at one-third of Obama’s 2012 total [ad] spend through the general [election] in one month.”
Steyer, with a net worth of $1.6 billion, is focusing his resources in the four early voting states, where he has spent nearly $37 million (mostly on digital ads). Steyer has a 60-person team in South Carolina, where he is polling in 5th place with 5%. He is also popular among black voters, who make up more than 50% of the Democratic electorate in SC.
“For someone who’s come in as late as he did in the game, he’s doing impressively well,” says South Carolina Democrat Kate Franch. “And that’s relative to everyone who’s not Joe Biden.”
Bloomberg and Steyer’s excessive ad spending is at odds with rival Democrats’ grassroots campaigns and voters who don’t want another rich white man running the country. Despite their spending, neither Steyer nor Bloomberg has reached double digits in the polls.
According to Real Clear Politics, Bloomberg is polling in 5th place with 4.9% support and Steyer is in 10th with less than 2%.
Author’s Note: Propaganda works, but the effectiveness will depend on frequency and credibility. Frequency isn’t a problem, but voters will continue to question both candidates’ credibility, especially with the other (socialist) half of the field attacking old, white rich people.