On Super Tuesday, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-PILES OF CASH) won his first primary contest and walked away with a few delegates. So is this the turning point? Will Bloomberg ride this wave to the Democratic National Convention and then on to beating Trump in November?
Hardly. You see, he won in American Samoa, a U.S. territory with a population of around 55,000 and a GDP of only $658 million in 2016.
Bloomberg has already spent about $500 million in the presidential race.
So far, that humongous pile of cash has gotten him jack squat. Sure, Bloomberg ads have blanketed your TV screen, stalked you on social media, and popped up in the most unlikely of places, but it’s not easy to convert advertisements into votes. Ads can make some difference, but they don’t make all the difference.
So how did Bloomberg win American Samoa? He had 7 full-time staff there! Even though he himself never visited the territory, his campaign had very little competition.
My favorite Super Tuesday fact so far is that Bloomberg has won 6 delegates in American Samoa and had 7 full time staff in American Samoan.
The Bloomberg brokered convention strategy is falling into place.
— Andy Slavitt @ 🏡 (@ASlavitt) March 4, 2020
Having a large staff doesn’t necessarily win elections, either, but the turnout in the American Samoa primary was extremely low. Mike Bloomberg won with 175 votes (50 percent), and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) came in second with 103 votes (29.3 percent).
Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-USSR) got 37 votes (10 percent), Joe the wonder Veep got 31 votes (9 percent), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Not to be confused with Pocahontas) got a measly 5 votes (1 percent).
If Mike Bloomberg took the money he has spent on the 2020 presidential race and gave it directly to those 175 voters, each one would become a millionaire, with $2.85 million.
But hey, a win’s a win, right? Bloomberg won a convincing victory and will take a grand total of 4 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Tulsi got one delegate — which means she qualifies for the debate stage unless the DNC changes the rules yet again.
Thanks for your support, American Samoa!
Together, we'll defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. pic.twitter.com/dFqeO69Ejn
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) March 4, 2020
For $500 million, Mike Bloomberg could nearly double American Samoa’s GDP. Raise it a few million and he could theoretically purchase the territory outright.
The former mayor does have one thing going for him: at least he isn’t stuck with nothing to show for his $500 million. Sure, he has 4 delegates after getting 175 votes, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?
Pete Buttigieg won the Iowa caucuses (or so we think…) and got 14 delegates out of the deal. But he dropped out of the race and endorsed Joe Biden, likely under pressure from the Democratic establishment, which is terrified of nominating an open socialist and losing up and down the ticket. By press time, Biden has won Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Arkansas, solidifying his stance as the major anti-Bernie candidate.
According to AP’s VoteCast exit polls, about 60 percent of voters in Minnesota, Colorado, and Massachusetts (Bloomberg’s birthplace) said they would be dissatisfied if the former mayor became the Democratic candidate. About half of those in North Carolina and Virginia would also be displeased. In contrast, majorities in each of those states said they would be satisfied if Sanders were the nominee.
Bloomberg could still gain momentum, but as of yet the only things he has going for him are $55 billion and a win in American Samoa. Money can keep you in the race, but it can’t buy you love — or votes. Well, maybe it can get you 175 votes in a territory many Americans have never heard of.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.