Welcome to Michael Bloomberg’s America. With the New York mayor successfully entrenched, Mayor Daley-style, in his third term, his ambitions have led him beyond the city he so carefully controls. Bloomberg is the 10th-wealthiest person in the country, with a net worth of some $25 billion, and he’s using that cash to select like-minded local candidates across the country.
In Chicago, Bloomberg’s cash propelled former Illinois state Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) to victory in the special election Democratic primary to replace disgraced Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress. Bloomberg dropped a hefty $2.2 million on ads to help Kelly – what he found in the couch that morning, presumably – pushing her to victory. Kelly is a gun control advocate, like Bloomberg. Her primary opponent was former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, an NRA-endorsed candidate on guns. Kelly’s media consultant, Eric Adelstein, said that Bloomberg’s cash was a “game-changer.”
In Los Angeles, Bloomberg has invested some $1 million in the Coalition for School Reform to help out certain candidates for the always-underperforming Los Angeles Unified Board of Education. There are three open seats on that Board, and Bloomberg wants all of them. The good news in this case is that Bloomberg wants candidates who will support charter schools and teacher accountability measurements. He’s opposed in that effort by Randi Weingarten, the thug boss of the American Federation of Teachers, who says that Bloomberg is attempting to “buy the LAUSD board.” Bloomberg’s Deputy New York City Mayor Howard Wolfson responded, “Teachers unions have spent millions in Los Angeles and tens of millions around the nation to oppose reform and defend the failed status quo. Mike Bloomberg is proud to help level the playing field on behalf of children and their families. The union may not like it, but they should be used to it because he is just getting started.”
In the late days of the 2012 campaign, Bloomberg launched his own super PAC designed to impact 2012 Congressional races. His bizarre slate of candidates included independent/Democrat-
This is nothing new for Bloomberg. According to New York Magazine, he has shelled out $4.2 million to help out Democratic Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu staff up with crime experts; in 2010, he sent $4 million to states participating in Barack Obama’s failing Race to the Top program; when Colorado started to collapse regarding Race to the Top, he promptly injected $400,000 in local state senate races, largely helping Democrats.
Bloomberg was widely considered a prospective independent third party candidate in 2012 for the presidency. He’s certainly spending his cash to consolidate a fair number of local politicians of both parties behind his policies. And his ambitions seem to be growing. He has already called for the entire State of New York to adopt his bizarre New York City soda ban. As candidates like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gear up for presidential runs, look for them to begin wooing Bloomberg. And look for them to begin mirroring Bloomberg’s odd combination of political viewpoints in expectation of big checks.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).