Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg waves during a primary election night rally, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
According to a group of staffers from Michael Bloomberg’s campaign, it was effectively “game over” for his candidacy after Elizabeth Warren’s withering attacks during the Las Vegas debate.
A group of Bloomberg campaign staffers, who wish to remain anonymous, spoke to The Nation’s Ken Klippenstein. None of them, wrote Klippenstein, were surprised by the campaign’s implosion. In addition to Warren’s ambush, they said there was “a general lack of enthusiasm for Bloomberg among the staff.
One campaign aide said, “Ever since the first debate all of us faced a ton of hostility [when knocking on] doors…and could hardly get any volunteers. I once had a woman chase me back to my car demanding that I say you can’t buy the presidency.”
Another told Klippenstein, “The people who liked Mike initially didn’t care about the sexual [harassment] allegations or stop and frisk, but they got turned off because they thought he made himself look weak and that he had let Warren walk all over him…I had to organize [a] debate watch party…The whole bar was full of Bloombros. You could just feel everyone getting silent and awkward whenever Warren tore into Bloomberg.”
Following Bloomberg’s disastrous debate performance, many volunteers quit.
One staffer noted that “phone calls with voters became more difficult.” He said, “The day after [the debate] when we made calls people were like, ‘Oh yeah, I was thinking about him [Bloomberg], but I’m not really sure anymore.’”
But despite an almost limitless budget, the Bloomberg campaign would learn that money can’t buy loyalty. Staffers described an almost total lack of belief in Bloomberg himself. “Most people knew this was a grift,” one campaign official explained, describing even leadership as being unwilling to fulfill basic campaign responsibilities. “At our first office meeting, my [director] said, ‘We don’t need to canvass. We can just make calls, right guys?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, that’s sensible.’”
Another employee who specialized in social media explained how their coworkers’ lack of enthusiasm resulted in lackluster engagement with social media audiences, which often led to tweets so perfunctory—many would just copy and paste campaign talking points—that their Twitter accounts would get mistakenly flagged as spam and suspended.
Multiple people described elaborate schemes to undermine the campaign and help their favored candidates. As one staffer explained, “I would actively canvass for Bernie when I was supposed to be canvassing for Mike. I know of at least one team of ‘volunteers’ that was entirely fabricated by the organizers who had to hit their goals. It was easy enough to fudge the data to make it look like real people put in real volunteer work, when in reality Mike was getting nothing out of it.”
Another staffer told me, “In San Diego, the regional organizers also exploited the campaign’s resources, staff, and infrastructure for local races they either were running in or consulting on.”
While the campaign had ambitious quotas for things like phone calls or doors, some staffers simply faked their numbers. “Many campaign staffers—including myself—had to juke the stats in order to keep up with these impossible goals,” one explained.
After speaking to the staffers, Klippenstein contacted the campaign’s San Diego regional political director, MaryAnne Pintar, who said she was unaware of any of this. She told him, “The person quoted can only speak to their own work if they falsified reports. I never witnessed that, nor did I see resources used inappropriately. This campaign started late; some consultants were already working on other campaigns and were made offers commensurate with capacity, with the understanding they’d be working with other clients, too. The person quoted anonymously may not know this.”
Elizabeth Warren is well aware of the damage she inflicted on Bloomberg. Following her withdrawal from the race, she appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show. Maddow asked her if she had intended to blow up Bloomberg’s campaign during the Nevada debate. She replied:
Yes…Sure…But the point is he’s not going to be the Democratic nominee and he shouldn’t be the Democratic nominee. In my view he was absolutely the riskiest candidate for Democrats on that stage. And let me tell you part of the reason why. All of those things in his history mean that he could never launch any of those attacks against Donald Trump.
During the debate, Warren excoriated Bloomberg as an “arrogant billionaire” who “calls women fat broads and horse faced lesbians.”
The most damaging exchange between the two came when Warren asked Bloomberg if he would “release the women who have made accusations from the nondisclosure agreements they signed, so we can hear their side of the story?” Here is the rest of it.
Bloomberg: “We have a very few nondisclosure agreements.”
Warren: “How many is that?”
Bloomberg: “Let me finish. None of them accuse me of doing anything other than, maybe they didn’t like a joke I told…There’s agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet. And that’s up to them. They signed those agreements and we’ll live with it.”
Warren: “I’m sorry, no, the question is, are the women bound by being muzzled by you? And you could release them from that immediately.”
(Bloomberg cited women in leadership positions at his company, at his foundation and in city government when he was mayor.)
Warren: “I hope you heard what his defense was: ‘I’ve been nice to some women.’ That just doesn’t cut it. The mayor has to stand on his record. And what we need to know is exactly what’s lurking out there.”
Hot Air’s Allahpundit wrote a post on this topic entitled “Warren: Let’s Face It, I Took Out Mike Bloomberg.” And he brought up a very amusing visual. “Words cannot express how excited I am for the Elizabeth Warren/Mike Bloomberg kumbaya moment at the convention when all the 2020 candidates are invited up onstage to symbolically unify behind Joe Biden.”
Me too, Allahpundit.