Why Bloomberg’s campaign has changed presidential elections

Despite being a political science major, I tend to stay apolitical in my columns, mostly because I believe this is a piece for people to enjoy and take lessons from.
However, the recent insurgency of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign had me thinking about a titanic shift happening in American presidential politics that will far outlast this primary race.
Bloomberg, who entered the presidential race in November, has formed the interesting strategy of not campaigning or trying to get on the ballot in the early primary and caucusing states, such as Iowa and New Hampshire. Instead, he is hedging his bets on performing well in Super Tuesday states, with the goal of taking enough delegates that the Democrats then would have to have a brokered convention over the summer; the hope for Bloomberg being that he will be the “establishment moderate” picked to take on President Trump in the general election.
However, in order to accomplish that goal, he needs to introduce himself to voters in those states since he entered so late. In light of that, Bloomberg has spent approximately $450 million on ad buys in these critical states, all that spending happening in three months. For comparison, former President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 spent approximately $338 million on ad buys in the entire campaign.
However, the precedent his quixotic presidential bid is setting with campaign spending leads many to believe this is the reality of a modern America shaped by money in politics: the presidency can simply be bought.
The practice of seeing private sector businesspeople elected to public office has long existed, but not to the extent it has progressed within the last four years, what with a businessman from New York winning the presidency. That was the first time in American history a president was elected who did not have prior government or military experience, but had money and a business.
Now, we see a multibillionaire enter the race with little effort put in to be in the position he is in, other than the fact he has money to burn.
Even if Bloomberg doesn’t win any states, and his campaign is over just as quickly as it began, the fact is, there are many other wealthy individuals around the country who surely aspire to run for president; in fact, people such as Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, have all expressed interest at one point or another in running.
Seeing the potential success that a late-entry campaign like Bloomberg’s may have, we could be entering a new era of American politics, where politically ambitious multibillionaires decide to wait until the right time to squeak into a presidential primary, and seize it from other candidates who had announced and worked at it for up until a year prior.
It’s a strategy that multi-billionaire politicians may use to fundamentally change how we nominate and choose our president.

MICHAEL GUIDO
[email protected]