Poor Mike Bloomberg has to come to Nevada after all

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Michael Bloomberg delivers remarks during a campaign rally on February 12, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The state of play:

  • Bloomberg is in the debate
  • Caucus chaos
  • Nevada is Bernie’s to lose

Bloomberg goes shopping. Contemplating a path to the Democratic presidential nomination, Michael Bloomberg made a decision: Nevada doesn’t matter. 

According to the Bloombergian view, instead of grubbing around with voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, the nomination shall be secured in a manner befitting a man who has so much money that his money makes more than $100 million a day whether he gets out of bed or not.

He’ll buy it.

So even though Bloomberg won’t be on the ballot in Nevada, he will be on the stage at Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas. He needed to finish in double digits in one more national poll, and Tuesday morning the NPR/PBSNewsHour/Marist poll delivered. The more than $400 million Bloomberg has spent on ads so far bought him 19 percent in the poll, putting him in second place, 12 points behind Bernie Sanders.

Bloomberg was destined to be a central element of the debate whether he was on the stage or not. His $60 billion scares the hell out of candidates, as it should, and candidates who don’t have $60 billion, and who are on the ballot and have been campaigning in Nevada, have been vollying shots at Bloomberg from Nevada, and would have vollied plenty more during the debate.

Candidates have been saying they wanted to get him on the debate stage to take him for a test drive. Now they’ll get their chance.

The $400 million Bloomberg has reportedly already spent on ads is about one third of what Hillary Clinton and her Super PACS spent on her entire campaign four years ago.

Put another way, it’s about the same amount of money Bloomberg’s money makes in less than four days.

Trump’s worth, perhaps around $3 billion, is chump change compared to Bloomberg’s.

Bloomberg, perhaps as well as anyone, knows what a clown and a charlatan his fellow New Yorker is. After all, if Trump’s so hot, how come he doesn’t have $60 billion (and growing)?

Many Democrats, rightly believing that the greatest threat to the nation, domestically and abroad, is Trump, are tantalized by Bloomberg’s billions. Dark times call for dark measures.

But Democratic voters should be wary of Bloomberg, and not only because of his record, which can range from unsettling to deplorable on race, gender, economic justice and numerous other key Democratic issues and concerns. 

The key to beating Trump isn’t $60 billion. It’s voter turnout. And in these our polarized times, beating Trump doesn’t mean appealing to an ever-dwindling supply of swing or persuadable voters (a long-held conventional wisdom political scientist Rachel Bitecofer derisively dismisses as the “Chuck Todd theory of American politics”), but running up the score among voters who support Democrats.

Bloomberg thinks the economy wouldn’t have crashed if only banks had discriminated against people of color harder

Bloomberg thinks he knows what causes violent crime: “You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops,” Bloomberg said in 2015, just four months before Trump came down his escalator. “They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city.” 

Bloomberg is also something of a renowned sexist pig, who oversaw the development of a workplace culture of hostility, harassment and degradation.

And he’s the 12th richest person in the world who thinks everything and anything can be bought, including the presidency.

Are those the characteristics of a candidate who will energize Democratic turnout? Bloomberg’s obscene bajillion-dollar campaign wants you to think that “Mike will get it done,” that only he can beat Trump. He might be the only Democrat in the race who can’t.

Bloomberg hasn’t been in a debate for 11 years, and is one of those gazillionaire white guys who gets bristly if a mere mortal casts doubt on some feature or other of his magnificence.

In other words, though he’s reportedly been preparing long and hard, it’s not unthinkable that Bloomberg will get on the debate stage and flop.

That might be for the best. And then Nevada might matter after all. Or at least a debate stage in Nevada might.

As for your Nevada caucuses…

Backstops. Nevada Democrats have assured everyone there are multiple foolproof failsafe backstops to assure that whoever wins the Nevada caucuses, they will have won it fair and square.

So on Saturday a winner will emerge from Nevada with no controversy at all, everyone will marvel at the astounding way Nevada Democrats crafted such a smooth system in such short order, and the presidential contest will elegantly glide on to the South Carolina primary Feb. 29 and, far more importantly, Super Tuesday March 3.

Or … maybe on Saturday, Democratic caucus organizing palms will go to Democratic caucus organizing foreheads in a miserable epiphany that oh snap, the slapped-together last-minute seat-of-the-pants system failed, grandly — so grandly that results are impossible to determine, and Democrats will declare the entire process null and void, but thanks for playing, everyone.

Or perhaps most likely, something in between will happen, involving plenty of confusion and frustration and anger and recriminations and accusations, but some results nevertheless.

Whatever the outcome, almost all, if not all, the campaigns will be thankful for one thing: at least the godforsaken caucuses are over (except for Wyoming, North Dakota, American Samoa, Guam, and Virgin Islands, which have few delegates and will garner nary a headline).

And hopefully Nevada’s will be the last time a high-profile, contested presidential caucus will ever be held anywhere in America, forever.

Nevada is Bernie’s to lose. Sanders had an eight-point lead over Biden in last week’s Review-Journal/AARP poll, and a whopping 19-point lead in a Data for Progress poll released Monday. In other words, expectations for Sanders in Nevada are now officially sky-high.

Depending on how the whole aforementioned Bloomberg thing ends up shaking out, the most consequential storyline coming out of Nevada’s caucuses, candidate-wise, anyway, may end up being who finishes second.

And who doesn’t.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.