Billionaire Democrats Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg have spent a combined $200 million on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary — though neither seems to have much to show for it but a slew of advertisements.
The left-wing mega-donor, who made a fortune in fossil fuel investments before becoming a climate change activist, and the former New York City mayor both jumped into the race long after it started, after initially declining to run.
Yet neither is gaining much traction in the polls, and Bloomberg has yet to qualify for any of the Democrat debates.
Politico reported Wednesday:
Together, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg have poured nearly $200 million into television and digital advertising alone, with the former New York mayor spending an unprecedented $120 million in the roughly three weeks since he joined the presidential race. That’s more than double the combined ad spending of every single non-billionaire candidate in the Democratic field this entire year.
However, according to the RealClearPolitics national poll average, Bloomberg is languishing in fifth place, with 5%. Steyer is doing even worse, in tenth place, with 1.5%.
Steyer improves to seventh in Iowa (2.5%) and New Hampshire (2.7%), sixth in Nevada (3.5%), and fifth in South Carolina (4.0%). Bloomberg’s best result in an early primary state appears to be in California, where he is sixth (3.3%).
Campaign finance reform has been a staple of Democrat campaigns in recent years, but despite worries about billionaires buying votes, neither has seemed to make much of an impact. Both are far behind the frontrunners, who remain (in order, nationally): former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
One recent poll had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in fourth place, ahead of Bloomberg and all other contenders, though she is not actually running for president at the moment.
Steyer can claim one victory: before running for president, he launched and bankrolled the Need to Impeach campaign, which succeeded in convincing Democrats to vote to impeach President Donald Trump last week.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.