Our friend Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, billionaire, and notorious soda tyrant, is throwing $5 million of his own money into last-minute ads for the Democrats days before the midterms, the Washington Post reports. Bloomberg has given $110 million to Democrats in this election cycle, but he only recently became a Democrat himself.
Bloomberg, who has repeatedly hinted that he will run for president in 2020, is the star of the two minute TV spot, in which he speaks sternly into the camera over an American flag backdrop. The ad heavily emphasizes Bloomberg’s centrism and experience on both sides of the aisle.
“I speak to you on the eve of the midterm elections not as a Democrat or a Republican—I’ve been both—but as an American who is deeply concerned with the direction of our nation,” he begins.
“Political violence tears at the heart of our democracy,” Bloomberg narrates, over images of the memorials for the 11 Jews killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue by a white supremacist last week.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t go on to say who might be responsible for this violence. Instead, he shifts to praising America as a nation of “builders and doers.”
“We expect to be called to a higher purpose. I don’t hear that call coming from Washington these days, do you?” he asks, going on to lament the “division” sown by Donald Trump, without actually naming him or any specific ideology as the culprit.
Bloomberg does condemn fear-mongering over immigration, describing the greatest threat to America a coming from “inside our borders.” But what is that threat? According to Bloomberg,“partisan bickering” and the national debt. I seem to have forgotten the last time the national debt murdered a bunch of people, but that’s just me.
After reiterating again that he’s “not a partisan person,” Bloomberg finally gets to the supposed point of the ads, telling people we need to send a message to Republicans that they have “failed to lead” by voting them out on Tuesday. Never mind that over a minute and a half into the ad the only people watching have long since changed the channel or fallen asleep.
It’s obvious that the spot is meant to familiarize voters with Bloomberg so he can begin running his campaign in earnest. But though he makes it fairly clear that his positions are anti-Trump, Bloomberg leaves his own beliefs totally in the dark. He tells us to vote Democratic only to “send a message” to Republicans, but gives no reason to actually support the party with whom he’s now aligned.
The answer seems to be some vague sense of duty to uphold civility and norms.
“When you have the president threatening to shoot migrants at the border, that doesn’t represent the center of the country or most of the GOP,” Bloomberg strategist Howard Wolfson explained to the Post. “It’s critically important to him to talk to those Americans.”
We sure hope Wolfson is right, but if he’s not, and perhaps more Americans than anyone wants to imagine would support shooting unarmed migrants at the border, they’re not going to hear any strongly worded condemnations of the ideology backing that policy from Bloomberg.
The ad will air tonight on “60 Minutes” and again tomorrow during evening news programs on MSNBC and CNN. Good luck to Bloomberg, and to us all. We’re gonna need it.