Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is expected to zero in on Michael Bloomberg, who officially jumped into the presidential ring on Sunday, with supporters describing his entry as “one of the most important things that happened to her campaign.”
Both Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have built their campaigns, largely, on targeting billionaires. The candidates, both of whom have a net worth into the millions, have proposed tax hikes on the ultra-wealthy as a way to fund their costly proposals – proposals which include “Medicare for All,” “free” college, and multimillion-dollar climate change plans.
“Look I don’t have a beef with billionaires,” Warren said during October’s Democrat debate.
“My problem is, you made a fortune in America, you had a great idea, you got out there and worked for it, good for you. But you built that fortune in America – I guarantee – you built it in part using workers all of us helped pay to educate,” Warren said.
“You built it in part getting your goods to market on roads and bridges all of us helped pay for. You built it at least in part by protected by police and firefighters all of us help pay the salaries for,” she continued.
“All I’m saying is, you make it to the top of one-tenth of one percent, then pitch in the two cents so every other kid in America has the chance,” she added.
Warren does, however, have a beef with Bloomberg, who has a net worth of over $50 billion. When rumors of his presidential bid began to surface, she sarcastically welcomed him by providing a link to her calculator “for the billionaires.”
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 7, 2019
She openly criticized Bloomberg’s over $30 million ad buy on Saturday, writing, “Mike Bloomberg is placing $34 million in TV ads in one week—the most of any presidential candidate in history.”
“That’s one way to pay less under my #WealthTax. Because in a Warren administration, he and his billionaire friends would finally have to pay their fair share,” she added:
Mike Bloomberg is placing $34 million in TV ads in one week—the most of any presidential candidate in history.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 23, 2019
“This election should not be for sale,” Warren told reporters in New Hampshire over the weekend. “We need to build a grassroots movement, that’s how democracy is supposed to work.”
The “elections should not be for sale, not to billionaires, not to corporate executives,” she said.
Many of Warren’s supporters believe Bloomberg’s entry is excellent news for their candidate, arguing he gives a face to what Warren is fighting.
“This may be one of the most important things that happened to her campaign,” Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green said, according to the Daily Beast.
“Bloomberg’s entrance centers the conversation to the core themes that have been instrumental to Elizabeth Warren’s rise,” he continued, citing “the systemic corruption of our democracy by billionaires.”
“The more the campaign is grounded and centered in those issues, the more likely it is that Elizabeth Warren will win,” he added:
Reached by The Daily Beast, a Bloomberg aide texted it is “not a surprise” when asked about jabs from Warren and Sanders escalating with his arrival into the field. A Sanders aide flagged their campaign’s recent statement on Bloomberg’s candidacy, while a spokesperson for Warren’s campaign passed along her relevant remarks from a recent event.
Strategists also see Bloomberg’s entry as a negative for Biden, which could give Warren, Sanders, and even Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) the final boost they need going into 2020.
The Daily Beast reports:
“There are a lot of things you can say about Bloomberg,” Matt Bruenig, founder of the progressive People’s Policy Project, told The Daily Beast. “Not only is he a billionaire, but he’s a Wall Street billionaire, so you get that angle. If they stay to script, they’ll have more things to say.”
Warren and Sanders each have robust small-dollar fundraising operations and have spent much of their campaigns fighting against claims of corruption around the country. Warren has focused on what she calls systemic corruption and challenging corporate power, saying the “government is working great for billionaires” but not for every day Americans.
New York City mayor and former Democrat presidential candidate Bill de Blasio issued a similar critique prior to Bloomberg’s official entry in the race, telling reporters that Democrats should not “nominate a billionaire who epitomizes the status quo.”
“Would he be better than Donald Trump? Of course. Should he be the Democratic nominee? No,” he stated. “This is a Democratic Party today that’s getting more progressive, that wants to address the concerns of working people, that does not accept the status quo.”
“There’s no way in the world we should nominate a billionaire who epitomizes the status quo,” he continued, adding that Bloomberg does “not even come close” to representing the modern Democrat Party.
While many of Warren’s supporters say Bloomberg exemplifies everything she has been campaigning against, something that could benefit her bid, others warn that it could have an opposite effect:
“The Bloomberg thing will be good for Buttigieg and Biden,” said Matt Stoller, a Hill veteran who now studies the influence of power. “It will give them the chance to blur the lines between Warren and Bernie.”
Last week, Warren unveiled a 60-second political ad titled, “Elizabeth Warren Stands Up to Billionaires” which aired on CNBC in New York City and Washington, DC, on Thursday. The ad featured a list of billionaires, their net worth, and their supposed wrongdoings.
As Breitbart News noted:
For example, the ad features a clip of billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman saying, “The vilification of billionaires makes no sense to me.”
“Charged with insider trading” flashes across the screen following his remark.
“She would ruin what we have,” TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts states, with the Warren campaign adding, “shovels money to GOP Super PACs.”
The ad also highlights venture capitalist Peter Thiel and lists one of his wrongdoings as being a “major Trump donor.”
The ad noted that Warren’s “wealth tax” could pay for a swath of her proposals, including universal childcare, universal free college, the cancelation of student loan debt, “and more.”
Raising taxes on billionaires is also key to Warren’s $52 trillion Medicare for All proposal. She has proposed requiring billionaires “to pitch in six cents on each dollar of net worth above $1 billion” in order to help fund the massive proposal:
The ad followed the rollout of her campaign’s anti-billionaire merchandise, which featured a $25 mug with the phrase “billionaire tears”:
By popular demand:
— Team Warren (@TeamWarren) November 14, 2019
Nonetheless, viewers will not get to see the Bloomberg and Warren battle it out on a debate stage. Bloomberg’s chief adviser, Howard Wolfson, signaled that the former New York City mayor will not accept political donations, making it impossible for him to participate in Democratic National Committee (DNC) debates due to the donor requirements.
“Sad that Bloomberg won’t be at debates so we can hear his two cents on how big money creates corruption in politics,” Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), a Warren campaign co-chair, tweeted.
“But @ewarren has a plan for his #twocents (so all families can access to childcare and education) so I’ll joyfully go with that,” she added:
Sad that Bloomberg won’t be at debates so we can hear his two cents on how big money creates corruption in politics. But @ewarren has a plan for his #twocents (so all families can access to childcare and education) so I’ll joyfully go with that. Text WIN to 24477 to join! https://t.co/CptxRFbp1C
— Katie Porter (@katieporteroc) November 24, 2019