Joe Biden is losing. That’s the political narrative forming around the first two contests in the 2020 Democratic primary. After finishing fourth place in Iowa, and polling between fourth and fifth place ahead of New Hampshire’s vote tomorrow, the seventy-seven-year-old former vice president’s argument about how he’s the most electable is losing its shine.
The hooded specter hovering over the dying Biden campaign is that of Michael Bloomberg, the multi-billionaire former Mayor of New York City. Bloomberg, dissatisfied with the slate of candidates, entered the campaign at the end of November, much later than his competitors. The former mayor made the decision to skip the first two contests and invest heavily in the later states, beginning with the Super Tuesday slate.
To this end, Bloomberg has invested significant amounts of his own personal fortune, which is estimated at over $61 billion. Since the start of his campaign just over two months ago, Bloomberg has spent $300 million on his campaign, an unprecedented number in Democratic politics. This includes hundreds of millions spent in television ad buys, like a $10 million dollar one minute spot during the Superbowl. He has a growing campaign structure of 2,000 staffers, dwarfing any of his grassroots funded rivals.
A billionaire using his financial largesse to benefit himself in a political campaign has met with harsh words from the other candidates. “I don’t think anyone ought to be able to buy their way into a nomination or to be president of the United States,” said Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at last Friday’s debate. “It’s a funny thing. There are millions of people who can desire to run for office. But I guess if you’re worth $60 billion and you can spend several hundred million dollars on commercials, you have a slight advantage. That is nonsense,” added Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.