Don’t let the polls fool you. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg represents a greater threat to President Trump’s reelection than any other candidate out there.

No one, not former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, or Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has the ability, resources, data, and know-how to disrupt the president’s reelection bid the way Bloomberg does. And he has proven this already.

In December, Trump became only the third president in history to be impeached. That wasn’t the work of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the "Squad," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, or any of the leading Democratic contenders. It was the result of the careful planning and meticulous efforts of Bloomberg.


In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, Bloomberg reportedly spent more than $110 million on behalf of more than two dozen Democrats. It paid off in a big way. Twenty-one of the candidates he supported won, 12 in toss-up or red districts that Trump carried by wide margins in 2016.

More than any single individual, he was responsible for flipping the House in 2018. In the aftermath, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., acknowledged: “Bloomberg’s money went a long way. He defeated a lot of people by writing those $5 million checks.”


Bloomberg’s efforts not only gave Democrats the House, but the ability to orchestrate a stinging and historical rebuke of the president. As Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon said, “Trump wouldn’t be impeached if it were not for Bloomberg.”

And if you think Bloomberg is content to stop there, think again.

Unlike the other Democrats in the race, his primary goal is to remove Trump. This is what motivated his spending in 2018 and what continues to animate his campaign today. While the rest of the field defines winning as securing the nomination, Bloomberg defines it as defeating Trump — whether he is the one to do it or not.

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This singular focus explains almost every aspect of his unorthodox campaign and what makes him more dangerous than anyone else.

There has been a lot of speculation as to why Bloomberg changed his mind about running. Everyone who knows him says he is so data-driven that he must have seen something in the numbers which convinced him to throw his hat in the ring. After all, this is someone whose campaign website is selling a shirt that reads, “In God we trust. Everyone else, bring data.”

His campaign has been clear on the data that convinced Bloomberg to run. It was polls, like one of voters in swing states released late last year, which showed Trump “remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his reelection.”

The reason this type of data swayed Bloomberg is clear. As his campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, has said numerous times, we do not have a national election. The next president will be decided in a few swing states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and Wisconsin primary among them. And despite low approval ratings overall, polls of these states show Trump is winning.

There are other signs as well. In the last few months, moderate Democrats of the kind Bloomberg supported heavily in the midterm have expressed concern about their reelection prospects. The impeachment is not popular among their constituents.

Some Independent and moderate voters who took a chance on them in 2018 feel they squandered their majority by focusing more on investigating the president than addressing issues such as health care, infrastructure, jobs and the cost of pharmaceuticals.

As a result, many of these Democrats are facing increasingly difficult reelection bids. And the tougher their electoral prospects, the stronger the president’s — it's symbiotic that way.

Several factors, including strong economic numbers, explain the president’s strength. But what really animated Bloomberg’s decision in addition to data of this type was all the things the Democrats have done — unwittingly — to help Trump’s reelection.

First, an impeachment inquiry and subsequent impeachment that is not popular in many of the states and with many of the voters who will decide the election.

Second, the fact that with all their focus on the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire (and to a lesser extent South Carolina and Nevada) Democrats have largely ceded the states that matter to Trump.

Third, the Democrats inability to come close to matching Trump’s impressive data-driven voter targeting operation — the same one that helped launch him into the White House in the first place.

Finally, as Democrats spend their time, resources, and money in states that will not matter come next November, Trump has amassed an impressive war chest and is using it to blanket the states that do, something he has been allowed to do, unabated, for months.

Many, including those in Bloomberg’s campaign, have argued that for these reasons the Democratic primary system is broken. They are right. It is a system that increases the odds of a GOP victory in the general because it forces candidates without personal means to focus most of their attention and limited resources on states that will not matter in November.

It is looking increasingly like it may produce a nominee who cannot win in the states that do matter. And in so doing, it has given Trump and his surrogates more than a year unobstructed, to focus their enormous war chest, energy and resources in states where — if he can pull over even small numbers of voters — he will likely win the Electoral College. Again.

Bloomberg got into the race first and foremost to quell what the data show is Trump’s rise and the source of his strength in the swing states. If the former mayor wins along the way, all the better. But make no mistake, Bloomberg’s primary goal is to weaken and ultimately remove Trump, and his unconventional campaign has already taken several important steps in that direction.

First, Bloomberg is the only candidate running a national campaign. While every other Democrat is focused on the early states, he is spending his time and money in states that will decide the general election.

In short, unlike his fellow Democrats, he has not been willing to cede these states to the president and his surrogates. He has not been willing to let the president have control of the airwaves and be in charge of the messages sent to voters for months on end, in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania and so on.

Second, Bloomberg is not just campaigning to secure the nomination for himself, he is campaigning against Trump. If Trump goes down in defeat it will be because he is beaten in the swing states. And it is those states that Bloomberg is targeting with massive amounts of anti-Trump advertising. According to a report out on Christmas Day, in just three weeks he has spent an astonishing $120 million on television and digital advertising.

The mayor is not only spending a lot and early against the president, but he is likely to continue regardless of whether he wins the nomination.

Third, we learned that last spring and with little fanfare, Bloomberg started a digital business called Hawkfish. The company is seen as a key step in his quest to build a data and voter targeting operation that can rival Trumps. The import and potential far-ranging impact of this effort should not be underestimated. More than anything else it was Trump’s far superior voter targeting and data operation that catapulted him into the White House.

As of this year, the Democrats are still, by most estimations, at least three election cycles behind the GOP in this area. No matter who the nominee is, Bloomberg’s efforts to close the digital and voter targeting gap will do more to help the Democrats on the road to the White House and to diminish Trumps legacy than almost anything else.


Finally, Bloomberg continues to invest significant amounts of his personal fortune, as he has for years, in causes that he cares about; many of which matter to moderate, suburban, and independent voters. He has coupled this with critical investments in voter registration efforts in swing states and millions of dollars targeted to support vulnerable Democratic candidates in districts Trump won in 2016.

Democrats may not want to accept or believe it, but as of today the data look good for a Trump reelection. It’s not just the swing-state polls, but the fact that historically, incumbent presidents with a good economy have a strong chance of winning. Trump is no exception. It will take a major disruptive force to upend those odds. So far, only Bloomberg has the demonstrated ability, foresight, resources, infrastructure and plan to do it.