Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has so much money that his previous foundation giving is translating into a group of local politicians who are supporting his candidacy. Or at least saying nice things about the man, instead of calling it what it is: Trying to buy an election.
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that Bloomberg Philanthropies has given $350 million to 196 cities. Now eight of the mayors who have benefited from those grants are endorsing Bloomberg, including Stockton and San Jose, California, as well as Louisville, Kentucky, and Gary, Indiana. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs — a 29-year-old liberal who is Stockton’s first black mayor — said Bloomberg is a candidate “with the resources, with the record and with the relationships” to beat Donald Trump, the Times reported.
Columbia, South Carolina Mayor (and co-chairman of the campaign) Steve Benjamin said Bloomberg’s philanthropy gives him credit as a leader. “It’s given him a great, great deal of credibility with people who, but for his philanthropy or altruism, he never would have interfaced with,” Benjamin told the Times.
It’s not only his philanthropic giving that has led to his political support. Bloomberg is throwing money at ad buys. Bloomberg has spent $58.4 million on TV and radio ads, along with $1.3 million on Facebook ads, according to AdAge. These ad buys has led to Bloomberg reaching a 5 percent support average in Democratic presidential polls, which is more than some traditional politicians like Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker have managed to wrangle. (A more effective use of your money might be to give it back to those cities than set it on fire in a failed presidential campaign, but I digress.)
Despite Bloomberg’s huge ad buys, Tubbs, the Stockton mayor who endorsed Bloomberg, told the Times that Bloomberg’s choice of philanthropy is important. “Lots of people have money. But the way he uses his money speaks to how he’s someone who has a vision for this party.”
I’m glad to see a benevolent billionaire out there helping Americans; it makes for a kinder world than the alternative. However, Bloomberg is estimated to be worth $50 billion. There’s no way to effectively spend that money as one person simply living their life. He could give away billions of dollars, maybe replace the lead pipes still plaguing Flint, Michicgan. Instead, Bloomberg wants to be president.
That desire of power should always make you think twice about their motivations.