And then there were three. Michael Bloomberg has also decided to suspend his campaign after a disappointing Super Tuesday. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and – for now – Elizabeth Warren are the remaining candidates in the race.
Bloomberg’s Bold Strategy
Bloomberg’s campaign was transient. He entered the race in November, participated in only two debates, and was on the ballots for the first time yesterday. Bloomberg never made a secret of his strategy. He skipped Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, and instead allocated an unprecedented amount of capital towards a Super Tuesday surge. It did not succeed.
His approach, however, defined the competition’s – and parts of the public’s – issue with Bloomberg’s campaign: the money. Never before did a candidate invest so enormously into his campaign. Bloomberg spent millions of dollars in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee alone. The result: no delegate in Virginia, one in North Carolina, seven in Tennessee. He won one of a total of 14 states yesterday, Samoa, which provided him with five delegates. Bloomberg’s overall delegate count ended at 44.
How Much Did Bloomberg Spend?
Bloomberg reportedly invested $550 million dollars from his November entrance until Super Tuesday, and thus spent 12.5 million per delegate – which is only surpassed by Tom Steyer, who paid a mountainous 200 million for zero (!) delegates. Hence, the adjectives to describe Bloomberg’s return of investment are arguably somewhere between lousy and abysmal.
With Biden’s comeback, there was suddenly no path for Bloomberg to succeed and also no need. Bloomberg had only entered the race as he assumed the Democratic field was inept. In his opinion, none of the candidates appeared to have the pedigree to defeat Donald Trump in November.
In fairness, Bloomberg made a valid point. Joe Biden’s results in Iowa and New Hampshire, in particular, were disastrous, his blunders during TV appearances borderline pitiful, and his debate performances a mix of absence and incoherence. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are socialists and thus unelectable. Pete Buttigieg was too young and inexperienced, while the rest simply never had a chance to begin with.
Biden’s Comeback Means Bloomberg’s Work is Done
A few weeks, the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday later, however, Biden has transformed into what so many had hoped for: a potential Democratic nominee. Bloomberg’s decision is thus logical but also strategically wise.
Bloomberg’s chances of winning had become virtually nonexistent. However, Bloomberg had said from the start that his goal was to defeat Donald Trump. In an email to his supporters today, Bloomberg stated that if he continued his campaign, it would have made this goal more complex due to a fair amount of voters he and Biden were sharing.
Instead, he has not only joined forces with Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg but has also endorsed Biden, while pledging to do anything to make Biden the next President of the United States. Biden will now be the beneficiary of Bloomberg’s financial potency and philanthropic nature, a significant advantage against Sanders but also a feather in his cap in a potential campaign against Trump.
Bernie Sanders’ Floundering Campaign
Meanwhile, Sanders’ planned trip to the Democratic promise land has not only been put on hold but almost replaced by a not too far distant vacation at his lake house over these last days. Not only did Buttigieg and Klobuchar endorse Biden and thus provided him with additional voters. The fact that Elizabeth Warren remains reluctant to drop out has Sanders crashing into an establishment wall. If Warren had suspended her campaign prior to Super Tuesday and endorsed Sanders, the results could have looked different, indeed. Instead, the unfavorable news for Sanders continues to come with Bloomberg’s decision.
What will remain of Bloomberg’s campaign is the fact that, contrary to all accusations and defamation, he was unable to “buy” the election. It is a positive sign of a working democracy and water on the mill for any future billionaire seeking to become Commander in Chief, who will ever require a valid defense in favor of his wealth. After all, if Bloomberg was not able to “buy” the election, hardly any man ever will.
Most importantly, however, Bloomberg ought to be respected and commended for the initiatives he exerted and the time and capital he invested for what he believed was necessary to move the country into a different direction. He did not run for pride, nor for publicity or to promote his company. The immediate suspension of his campaign once it became evident that Biden is the man to beat Trump after all is a testimony to the latter. Chapeau, Mr. Mayor!