Where Billions Would Be Best Spent: Bloomberg Should Invest in Getting Out the Vote for Democrats


DEC 07, 2019 | 5:00 AM

If former Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants to earn respect from people of color opposed to his stop-and-frisk racial profiling and from women offended by his misogynistic comments, he should not put money into his presidential campaign. He should invest in sophisticated and intense get-out-the-vote efforts throughout the country to defeat President Trump. Tom Steyer, another mega-billionaire and presidential candidate, should do the same.

Together, they have spent more than $100 million so far on ads attacking the president. But attack ads are not enough to dump Trump in 2020; the vast majority of people who revile Trump know it already.

The days of House impeachment hearings are coming to a close, and we can already anticipate that the Senate will not find him guilty of jaywalking, much less bribery.The most important fight between Democrats and Republicans isn’t over removing Trump. It’s over getting out the vote.

Democratic primary voters get to decide soon who should be their nominee. Up to a point, Bloomberg and Steyer have every right to cash in on television and social media ads about themselves. But it’s unlikely either will ultimately win. And when they falter, as they likely will, they should promise huge chunks of money to turn out all manner of people who don’t support Trump.

That includes whites and people of color who voted for Barack Obama. It includes the college-educated, working-class, millennials and elderly, not only the extremely valuable swing-state Americans who voted for Obama and then Trump in 2016.

Persuasion is not enough. Every day, new evidence appears proving Trump’s guilt in the scheme that’s leading to his impeachment. Our Founding Fathers clearly believed that bribing foreign governments with military funds to dig up dirt on political opponents is a no-no and a very big one.

The Democratic candidates have weighed in on Trump’s misdeeds and have plans to keep the country’s economic engines running, cranked first by Obama after a Republican administration brought us the Great Recession. Importantly, the Democratic candidates also want to generate higher-paying jobs, reduce health-care costs and stop the burning of fossil fuels.

They have ideas and plans. None of them is perfect, but they never are. The GOTV architects should get to work, but they will need more money than they have had. The “impeach and remove Trump” poll number has been around 50% for a good while. It may stay stuck as Democrats press ahead. It may even dip.

GOTV must be smartly calibrated to win the Electoral College, perhaps by swinging back Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where 77,000 total votes made the difference in 2016.

Democrats also need to strategically pick their spots to swing the Senate. Senate races in Maine, Colorado, Texas and especially those with sizable black populations that could break decisively for Democrats, such as North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi,must be on the GOTV list.

While they’re making the case against Trump, the Democratic Party should remind a few African Americans leaning toward reelecting the president that racism has been in the backbone of the Republican Party for decades.

There it has been, there it remains.

In 1981, Lee Atwater, one of the principal architects of that strategy, said in an infamous interview, discovered after his death in 1991, that use of the n-word “hurts” but “abstract” words like “forced busing, states’ rights…and cutting taxes” appeal to white Southerners.

Today, with his repeated base appeals to white resentment, Trump has kicked Atwater’s charade off the stage. There is nothing abstract about his appeal.

This is why GOTV plans, from car and bus rides to the polls to social media ads, need to be big and bold in every state. Bloomberg and Steyer can make that happen, as can any other billionaire who wants to end Trump’s infamous and racist swindle.

Hinton is former press secretary for Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo, when he was HUD secretary.

I work in PR & helped Ecuadorians in their oil contamination case ag Chevron. I was press secretary for Mike Espy, DNC, Andrew Cuomo & Bill de Blasio.

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