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Bloomberg Bails on Anti-Trump Super-PAC

Michael Bloomberg has cut off a lot of well-paid campaign staffers. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In a rare bit of non-coronavirus-related political news, former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has changed his mind about how he plans to help beat Donald Trump in November, as the New York Times reports:

Mr. Bloomberg’s presidential campaign had promised at its outset that it would finance a field program through the November election. Then upon his withdrawal from the race earlier this month, Bloomberg officials said the former New York mayor would continue to employ many of his campaign’s field staff through an independent campaign organization [a.k.a., a superpac].

In the end Mr. Bloomberg, a multibillionaire, has chosen to do none of those things. He has transferred $18 million from his campaign account to the D.N.C., which intends to use the funds to hire its own organizing staff in battleground states.

This is disappointing on both a macro and a micro level. Yes, $18 million sounds like a lot of scratch, notes NPR:

The large sum from Bloomberg’s now-defunct presidential campaign is the biggest transfer from a presidential campaign committee to a political party in recent history. Because the money comes from Bloomberg’s campaign committee, there is no federal legal limit to the amount he could give, according to a party official.

The investment is expected to help the DNC build up its data and field operations for the general election in 12 key states. The Bloomberg campaign is also transferring several of its former field offices in battleground states to state parties.

But it’s strictly sofa-cushion change compared to the billion dollars or so he suggested in January he might spend on behalf of a Democratic general-election campaign, regardless of the identity of the nominee.

It’s even worse news for the Bloomberg campaign staffers who thought they had a job through November via the suddenly obsolete super-PAC, as the Times notes:

In a conference call Friday, about 1,500 former campaign staff members across the country were informed of the plans by the campaign’s states director and encouraged to apply to work for the D.N.C., though they were advised that, should they be hired, those jobs were not likely to pay them the same.

So at the beginning of what is almost certain to be a deep recession, these previously fat-and-happy Bloomberg staffers will have to hit the bricks and look for work, or beg the DNC for jobs, which will probably pay about half the lucrative salaries the megabillionaire was offering to lure talent into his campaign to offset his late start.

It’s certainly possible Bloomberg will up the ante later on with additional investments in the general-election campaign (presumably led by Joe Biden, with whom he has no deep ideological issues); he can certainly start up another super-PAC if he wishes. But for the people who thought their ship had come in when Bloomberg ’20 started tossing money around promiscuously, the wild ride has ended abruptly like so many other luxury cruises.

Bloomberg Bails on Anti-Trump Super-PAC