Michael Bloomberg to spend $500 million in anti-Trump campaign

Billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is preparing to spend at least $500 million from his own pocket to deny President Donald Trump a second term, Politico reports, citing Democratic operatives briefed on his plans.

Michael Bloomberg to spend $500 million in anti-Trump campaign

Michael Bloomberg to spend $500 million in anti-Trump campaign

STEPANAKERT,  FEBRUARY 14, ARTSAKHPRESS: Bloomberg has not yet announced whether he will run in the Democratic primary. If he runs, he will use that half-billion-dollar stake — roughly $175 million more than the Trump campaign spent over the course of the entire 2016 election cycle — to fuel his campaign through the 2020 primary season, with the expectation that the sum represents a floor, not a ceiling, on his potential spending.

If Bloomberg declines to seek the presidency, his intention is to run an unprecedented data-heavy campaign designed to operate as a shadow political party for the eventual Democratic nominee.

“That’ll get us through the first few months,” Kevin Sheekey, a top adviser to the former New York mayor, told POLITICO when asked about the $500 million plan, which is just 1 percent of Bloomberg’s estimated net worth.

“Mike spent $100 million in his last New York City election. And you can do the math as you think more broadly but New York City is 3 percent of the national population,” Sheekey said. “I’m not suggesting it’s straight math. But I’m suggesting that when Mike Bloomberg is committed to making a difference and seeing something though, generally speaking he’s pretty unabashed in doing so.”

To that end, Bloomberg has assembled a political team that, since late November, has been meeting at least once weekly in the Manhattan headquarters ofBloomberg Philanthropies to consider what some aides have called “Plan A” and “Plan B.”

Plan A is straightforward: Bloomberg runs for president as a Democrat, not as an independent candidate as he had mused privately in the past. According to Plan B, Bloomberg uses all the data — ranging from meticulously researched profiles of voters to polling data on the top issues that move the electorate — and field staff to help the otherwise-outgunned Democratic Party nominee to end Trump’s presidency.

Bloomberg said Friday at an event in Orlando, Fla., that he’ll make a decision in “three more weeks.”

He also made clear that he’s not waiting on former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s also mulling a bid for president and who, Bloomberg advisers acknowledge, could draw from the same pool of moderate primary voters.

"My decision doesn't depend on what other people are going to do," Bloomberg told The Associated Press. "My decision depends on whether or not I think I can make a difference."

Still, the subject of Biden has come up in discussions with those who have discussed Bloomberg’s options with his team.

In those conversations, Democratic operatives say, Bloomberg’s team members have indicated that they’re polling and conducting focus groups, and are familiar with the primary election calendar and the complicated politics of wringing delegates from various states. They’re also under no illusions about the difficulties of a Democratic Party newcomer running as a centrist in a progressive primary.

But Bloomberg’s aides are operating under the assumption that while the billionaire can’t buy the nomination, hundreds of millions of dollars can put him in contention.

“Five hundred million is just an obscene amount of money. It’s crazy, enough to buy up all the TV ad inventory in the seven or eight states that really matter in a primary,” said a Democratic consultant familiar with the plans who privately shared information from a conversation with a top Bloomberg adviser.