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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/26/20

An Edsel or a Pinto?: Billionaire Bloomberg is Proving No Amount of Advertising Can Sell a Flawed Product

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By Dave Lindorff

Bloomberg has spent over $500 million (half a billion dollars!) over less than two months on his armchair "campaign" for the Democratic presidential nomination. The result of this appalling financial juggernaut, after a short initial pop into double digits in the polls, is pretty dismal.

Bloomberg's polling numbers have plateaued and even sunk in some primary states, including California, and so far haven't dented Bernie Sanders stunning rise. It's likely, according to some reports, especially if Sanders wins or ties Biden in South Carolina this Saturday, that Sanders will coast through with wins in almost all the 14 primaries on Super Tuesday, after which he'll be on a "glide path" to win the Democratic nomination with a first ballot victory. That would relegate the dreaded Superdelegates representing the party's neoliberal Establishment fossils to the proverbial dustbin of history.

Bloomberg's spending is likely to continue a while. He had been talking about spending as much as $1 billion of his $62 billion in net worth, on his presidential ambition, and at least until recently, had said he would be willing to put $1 billion after the convention into backing whichever candidate wins the nomination, although lately, he seems to be ready to start spending his money on negative advertising trashing Sanders, which would seem to preclude his supporting the same guy if Sanders, as seems increasingly likely, ends up being the party's nominee.

In any event, Bloomberg, who is spending money at a rate greater than Ford Motor Company's annual advertising budget for its entire product line ($2.8 billion), and approaching what General Motors spends ($4.5).

It's looking like the communications company magnate is the Edsel, or perhaps since his campaign seems to be going up in smoke, the Pinto of presidential wannabes.

The businessman who is America's 8th richest billionaire, and a guy who claims to be a realist who bases his thinking on data, should have done a little investigating into the rules of advertising, which include the concept of saturation. If you smother people in ads, after a while you gain little for adding more, and actually, your ads even the slick Madison Avenue ones Bloomberg is paying for become simply annoying to viewers and readers.

I heard from CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou that Bloomberg's online advertising is so ubiquitous that his 8-year-old son recently looked up from an iphone he was playing some game on and asked, "Dad, who is Bloomberg?"

"It turned out that Bloomberg ads for president are even on kids internet games!" Kiriakou laughed.

Somehow Bloomberg's marketers figured out how to bypass parental controls! But winning over Kiriakou's son of course isn't going to help Bloomberg defeat Sanders.

I have to admit to a certain shadenfreude at this, just as I felt when Liz Warren took the multi-billionaire to the woodshed in the last debate before the Nevada caucus. I suspect many Americans, who may wish they were rich as Croesus, but still have a healthy disgust about the smugness of the country's corporate elite with their 12 mansions, their fancy cars and limos, and their dismissive attitude towards the problems of the rest of us, and are sharing my shadenfreude.

If Bloomberg seriously wants to oust Trump from the White House, he should withdraw from the race now. He clearly cannot win the Democratic nomination without stealing it from Sanders via a second ballot vote including the Superdelegates he buys, and that will lead to so many people staying home on Election Day that he'll go down to defeat no matter how much of his stash he spends.

If he withdraws, Sanders will cruise to victory in July.

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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