It’s official: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has entered the Democratic race for president. (YouTube, PBS)
UPDATED, 11-25 at 11 a.m. PST — Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg has jumped with a full wallet into the Democratic race for president, vowing to accept no political donations or take a salary if elected, according to the Associated Press.
Already, American gun owners are wondering whether the former New York mayor and financial backer of the Everytown for Gun Safety gun prohibition lobbying organization will try to “buy the Second Amendment.” He has contributed millions of dollars to gun control campaigns, either by supporting politicians or gun control measures including ones in Washington State, which has become something of a political petri dish for gun control experimentation.
And Mother Jones is reporting that Bloomberg is “renting” the email list from Everytown, which could be massive.
The Huffington Post acknowledged that Bloomberg’s Sunday announcement “hardly came as a surprise.” The news agency recalled Bloomberg’s Nov. 7 disclosure he was considering a run. HuffPo said he is the wealthiest man to ever run for president, with an estimated fortune of $52 billion.
He spent a reported $1.2 million to help Democrats take the U.S. House in 2018, which ultimately led to the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump. He reportedly spent another $2.5 million to help Democrats take control of the Virginia legislature earlier this month, and they immediately began talking about more restrictive gun control legislation. The National Rifle Association, based in Virginia, spent only $300,000 in an effort to retain Republican control.
Washington state has seen more than $2 million of Bloomberg’s money supporting gun control initiatives, which were supported by local billionaires including the late Paul Allen, Bill and Melinda Gates, Nick Hanauer and Steve Ballmer. Gun rights activists have simply been out-spent.
In his announcement, Bloomberg declared, “We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage.”
At age 77, Bloomberg still poses a huge threat by entering the race now. He has skipped several debates in which his policies and philosophies could have been challenged. And he is already drawing fire from Democrats who have been in the race. Sen. Bernie Sanders immediately went on the attack, telling a New Hampshire crowd, “We do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections, and that is why we are going to overturn Citizens United, that is why multibillionaires like Mr. Bloomberg are not going to get very far in this election, that is why we are going to end voter suppression in America,” as noted by The Hill.
CNBC took a hard look at Bloomberg’s history with gun control. He “helped found” the Everytown lobbying group in 2014, bankrolling it with a $50 million pledge. The lobbying group now has a reported 350,000 “financial backers.”
The Associated Press noted, “Already, Bloomberg has vowed to spend at least $150 million of his fortune on various pieces of a 2020 campaign, including more than $100 million for internet ads attacking Trump, between $15 million and $20 million on a voter registration drive largely targeting minority voters, and more than $30 million on an initial round of television ads.”
Unless wealthy conservatives get in the game, Bloomberg’s weaponized wealth will be a formidable element in the 2020 election cycle.
For Second Amendment activists, they need to organize starting right now. Next October will be too late.