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The Billionaire Question


But I fear that by choosing Bloomberg on the basis of his advertising we would be picking him precisely because he is a billionaire who could afford to demonstrate his general election fitness, and distract from the realities of the primary, in a way not open to other candidates. Most campaign are not in a position to spend millions on general election ads right now. I’m not even in an early primary state, so all the ads I see apart from Bloomberg’s are fundraising focused! Bloomberg doesn’t have to ask for donations, so he can skip ahead to the final stage of campaign advertising.

We should compare Bloomberg’s ads to the DNC, who I would want to be hammering Trump whenever they get the chance. But again, it’s an issue of funding…

On this I would say AL is 100% right. Bloomberg can do this because of the money. That’s always true of self-funding candidates. (We just haven’t seen one at anything like this scale before.) But there’s the extra dimension. Only Bloomberg can afford to cut to the chase and run against Trump because he has the money to blanket the airwaves with ads and not duke it out with conventional campaigning.

There’s an additional point I would add. Bloomberg’s ads are filled with meta-messages. One is simply confidence, going right after Trump and the suggestion that maybe only a billionaire can beat Trump, only someone that best Trump on his own ground. Call it Big Billionaire Energy. The other message is blaring but not explicit: he could drop a billion or two billion or if he wanted to $10 billion on the race. For a lot of people who are focused on anything to get rid of Trump that’s a powerful message. I’m not saying I agree with it. But it would be foolish to ignore the power of that pitch for a lot of people.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.