If you’ve seen an advertisement for Michael Bloomberg recently, you're not alone. The billionaire and former mayor of New York City worth over $60 billion has spent over $417 million in advertisement to flood the airwaves with his message.
And it’s working. Despite not being on the ballot for the Nevada primary, Bloomberg qualified for the Nevada debate. He qualified for the debate because four different polls had the former mayor polling at more than 10% nationally. He is doing so well nationally that he is virtually tied for second. With 16% of nationally polled voters saying that Bloomberg is their preferred candidate he trails only Senator Bernie Sanders in first and is just 0.1% behind former Vice President Joe Biden.
But the debate turned over a new leaf for the former mayor and it was not a pretty one. In Bloomberg's first introduction to many new voters on the Nevada debate stage, he was attacked by every other candidate and his record was exposed.
The Democratic party is more diverse when compared to the Republican party. Thus it is crucial that a potential nominee can create a coalition of voters from different racial, ethnic and religious groups. Bloomberg was repeatedly attacked for his past actions of standing by the policy of stop and frisk. The stop and frisk program in New York City allowed the temporary detaining of potential suspects, which disproportionately affected African Americans and Latinos. For the presidential run, Bloomberg has admitted his past mistakes but his rivals said it was too little, too late.
But his debate performance seemingly got worse as the night went on. Senator Elizabeth Warren reminded the public that the former mayor had called women names in the past, has several non disclosure agreements from his business and had cultivated a sexist work environment.
Bloomberg took cheap shots, such as calling Sanders a communist. And he simply seemed not to care, with an unfazed temperament.
Herein lies the problem: the former mayor of New York City’s spending streak is working. He will be a huge factor on Super Tuesday, when fifteen different states vote on the same day. With his status being tied-for-second he will be a contender that sucks up delegates. But he hasn’t proven to be a viable candidate because he is unlikely to get a majority of delegates.
His debate performance, when he was repeatedly eviscerated by other candidates, did nothing to build confidence in his campaign. President Donald Trump would have a field day with the mild-mannered mayor tripping over his own words on a debate stage.
This wrinkle can become a full-blown problem with the potential of a contested convention. In order for a candidate to win the Democratic Primary they need half of the available delegates (1,991 out of 3,979) from states that have voted. With so many viable candidates this year, including Bloomberg, it is significantly more difficult to claim that majority.
If no majority is found during the first vote at the Democratic National Convention delegates are released and superdelegates, various Democratic officials and representatives, are added to the mix and can vote for whichever candidate they like, potentially overruling the will of the Democratic electorate and creating lots and lots of chaos.
This is what Bloomberg brings to the Democratic Party, unnecessary and preventable chaos.