Michael Bloomberg made a stunning admission last month during his second appearance in a Democratic presidential primary debate. Speaking in defense of his new identity as a member of the Democratic Party, he said, “All of the new Democrats that came in, put Nancy Pelosi in charge, and gave the Congress the ability to control this president, I b . . . bought . . . I got them.”
Indeed he did. He bought them.
Bloomberg bought congressional seats in 2018, spending an estimated $110 million to help Democrats win. This included $28 million through his super PAC Independence USA, which backed 22 Democratic congressional candidates, 19 of whom won. These efforts promise to be minor compared to what is happening now.
And the scale of his spending in the 2020 political season, especially when matched with the ongoing torrents of cash coming from other Democratic megadonors, dwarfs anything we’ve ever seen in American politics. With an estimated net worth of nearly $60 billion, Bloomberg may be out of the presidential race but he still has money to burn.
Starting in early 2019, in fact, Bloomberg began building what The Atlantic described as “the most powerful political organization in America,” which will “collect data about voters on an unprecedented scale, match those data with consumer data, and then hire a team of engineers to do high-level analyses, looking for new ways to identify potential voters, and new ways to appeal to them. They want to match voter data to consumer information and social-media profiles, and look for new ways to break through. Then they want to build a new “tech stack,” or system for processing and applying the data. The goal, they say internally, is to fundamentally change the core Democratic infrastructure.”
This “political machine” is up and running. And regardless of Bloomberg’s personal political fate, it will be used in 2020 to support every Democratic candidate in every contested congressional race in America.
Democratic Megadonors Outnumber GOP Megadonors
When it comes to deep pockets for the Democrats, Bloomberg’s hardly alone. Onstage with Bloomberg was fellow oligarch and failed presidential contender Tom Steyer, who has already spent over $100 million to elect Democrats all over the nation, and he’s likely to spend another $100 million before he’s through.
And then there’s Donald Sussman, James and Deborah Simons, George Soros, Fred Eychaner, Karla Jurvetson, George Marcus, Reid Hoffman, Dustin Moskovitz, and Joshua Bekenstein, who collectively have contributed additional hundreds of millions of dollars to Democrats over the past few years. Expect that to continue.
While the Republicans do have donors with deep pockets, they are consistently outspent by the Democratic megadonors. Worse, many Republican megadonors are willing to destroy Republican congressmen and senators who don’t agree with their globalist agenda. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
This reality, that big donors largely control the political destiny of congressmen and senators in America, exposes the wishful absurdity of a recent article published by Fox News. The story, headlined “Republican Party war chest dwarfs Democrats’ going into 2020 high season,” sounds encouraging until you read the numbers: “According to the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) data released Thursday, covering Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, the Republican National Committee has $76 million cash-on-hand compared with the Democratic National Committee’s $9.9 million.”
This GOP advantage of $66 million sounds great. It’s a lot of money. Until you realize that Steyer is likely to spend at least that much between now and November 3, and Bloomberg could easily spend that much every month between now and November 3. And they’re not the only Democratic super donors.
And then there are the unions.
Saturation Spending Works
To get an idea of how effective political spending can be when you have virtually no constraints on how much you can spend, Bloomberg’s candidacy was instructive.
In states where he competed on Super Tuesday, you couldn’t turn on a television or radio for longer than 10 minutes without seeing or hearing a Bloomberg ad. If his microtargeting machine deemed you worth prospecting online, his ads blanketed your screens. And they’re good ads, tailored to the region, the audience, and wherever possible, the individual.
Expect similar expertly crafted saturation level ads to be run this year by the Democrats in support of every Democratic congressional and senate candidate in every battleground district and state. But they won’t be run by the Democratic party. They’ll be run by independent expenditure campaigns controlled by Bloomberg, Steyer, and public-sector unions.
California, which has been run almost exclusively by public-sector unions for at least 20 years, provides abundant examples of how Democratic candidates are vetted and chosen by these unions, then elected via independent expenditure campaigns over which the candidates have no control.
As a matter of campaign finance law, these candidates cannot even try to influence the campaigns waged on their behalf, or they’ll face disqualification, punitive fines, and possible jail sentences. That’s awfully convenient for the public-sector unions, which control the Democratic Party in California.
From the perspective of national political outcomes, it might be tempting to think that whichever party controls California’s 10,000 local elected positions doesn’t matter that much. If so, that would be a dangerous misconception. California and other deep-blue states, all of them largely controlled by public-sector unions, endure the consequences of Democratic policies across the entire continuum of political jurisdictions. And these consequences are contagious.
Local and state policies are the reason Californians can’t build homes without paying public bureaucracies literally $100,000 or more in permit fees, per home, and encounter years of delays in approval.
Local and state policies are the reason Californians can barely run small businesses, or attend decent public schools, or drive on well-maintained and adequate roads, or afford the necessities of life unless they’re wealthy.
More to the point, this critical mass of political power at the state and local level allows Democrats to consolidate their power, sweep up congressional districts, create a standing army of seasoned professional political operatives, and train the politician farm team from which spring the national politicians that threaten to “fundamentally transform America.” Adam Schiff was once a California state senator. Maxine Waters was a California assemblywoman. And so on.
The Preposterous Overkill of Saturation Political Spending
To observe the local campaign tactics of public sector unions in California, where they collect and spend more than $800 million per year, is an exercise in surrealism.
For just one of the 80 seats in the state assembly, a constituent may expect to receive at least a dozen flyers in the mail. Not the two or three undersized postcards that a Republican candidate might hope to mail. No, from union-endorsed candidates, expect glossy full-sized booklets, or 8 x 10 flyers, or 10 x 12 flyers, and yes, even 11 x 14 flyers—thick, ink drenched and varnished, full-color extravaganzas. How do they even stuff these in the mailbox? How much must each one of them cost?
It doesn’t matter. Public sector unions are the other deep state, with pockets just as deep as the oligarchs, and they’re fighting on the same side.
For Democrats. It doesn’t even matter if the race is for a safe seat. They’ll make certain to saturate the mail and the air with constant messages, making certain their candidate has name recognition. If their Democratic candidate is competing in one of California’s pathetically few remaining battleground districts, they’ll run a campaign so dirty you’ll feel the filth blasting into you with a mere glance at the favored candidate’s latest flyer.
As for the candidates themselves—they have no say in how these independent expenditure campaigns are run. And afterward, they’ll be owned.
It’s important for Americans to realize that the Democratic party is the party with the deep pockets, and the party of the deep state—from the federal bureaucracy down to every union-controlled local agency across every state and city. Naturally, there are RINOs who are also part of this establishment. But by far, the locus of corporate socialism lies with the Democrats, supported by an ironclad alliance between leftist oligarchs and public-sector unions.
This article originally appeared on the website American Greatness.
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Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.
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