So this is fun. Here is the total spending for Democratic candidates on *television* advertising.
The two biggest spenders (who aren’t even high in the polls) have spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars on television ads. For the sake of comparison, President Trump spent $66 million of his personal wealth altogether on his 2016 campaign. (And Trump wisely focused on digital marketing.)
I find this somewhat fascinating. You have to wonder how much spending on television ads even matters. Sure, dropping bank on a Super Bowl ad is probably a good idea, especially if the ad is funny or patriotic. But much of the country isn’t even watching traditional television anymore. This is particularly true for the younger generations that candidates on the left are trying to motivate to get out and vote.
The first time I saw a Bloomberg ad was at my in-laws’ house over the holidays because we do not watch network television at home. And, boy, was it annoying. Bloomberg’s ad ran in each commercial break. During one commercial break, they played the same Bloomberg ad twice back-to-back. Is Bloomberg trying to make people throw stuff at their television? Does he think that is going to make him likable?
One of the reasons Trump is such a successful candidate is that he is entertaining. So are many of his followers, who produce a lot of viral content that doesn’t cost his campaign a single dime but bolsters his popularity. One single hilarious meme does more to motivate people to care about government, the economy, or war than an advertisement on repeat that is the boring or toxic output of endless paid focus groups.
And when people on the left do try to meme about the state of politics, usually what they produce is toxic rather than funny or uplifting. (I can’t tell you how many lefties I have unfolllowed because they’ve been posting memes about concentration camps since the day Trump was elected. Trust me, no sane human being wants to see that shit.) The left can’t meme, and that’s part of the reason their candidates (with the exception of Sanders) are running expensive, fossilized campaigns.
Another reason the ads seem like such a colossal flop is they aren’t even employing smart ideological strategies. Folks on social media are starting to call Michael Bloomberg “Doomberg” because the king of business data is seemingly unaware that this is a period of prosperity. “Let’s produce an economy that works for all people,” he says, during the best labor market in the history of the United States, where we’ve likely reached full employment. Heaven help him when Trump gets a load of “Doomberg” and starts using it as one of his snarky monikers.
The extravagance of these billionaire vanity campaigns really does reek too. It was always ridiculous to think that someone like Bloomberg had any interest in, say, fixing the college tuition bubble. But the fact that he’d rather shovel his personal wealth into the boomer politics flop furnace than use it for charity says a lot about his liberal worldview. It’s like he’s spending money to make Bernie Sanders more popular.