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Joe Henderson: Mike Bloomberg’s $100 million all-in bet to defeat Donald Trump

Bloomberg’s bankroll means Pro-Biden ads can blanket Florida TV airwaves.

Mike Bloomberg wasn’t kidding about helping Joe Biden win the election. He pledged to spend $100 million in Florida to support Biden – or, if you prefer, defeat Donald Trump.

The Washington Post story on this subject should send about a hundred million involuntary shivers of concern down the backs of Trump supporters. Polls essentially call the race a tossup now. With less than two months before the election, a blitz like that can make the difference.

Trump, of course, will counter with whatever it takes to win his adopted home state. And as he chirped on Twitter at Bloomberg upon seeing the news, “Save NYC instead.”

So, let the air war begin, but with a caveat.

“Money matters, but it must be spent properly,” Political Scientist and University of South Florida Professor Emeritus Susan McManus said. “It has to be targeted properly.

“If you look at Florida, it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle. You have to make all the pieces fit together just to have a complete picture.”

Start with the notion that Florida is really three states in one. South Florida’s east coast is mostly blue, while the Panhandle down through the Villages and much of the west coast is deep red.

The vaunted I-4 corridor vacillates.

And as McManus said, it’s one thing to have money. It’s another to spend it.

Who do you target and how do you go about that?

Ads on YouTube and Instagram have a better chance of reaching younger people than ones on TV. Mom and Dad can be swayed by something they see on Facebook. Maybe it’s an ad, or it could be a made-up story accusing Biden of the Lindbergh kidnapping, or Trump of fathering an alien baby from the planet Zortron.

Then there’s Twitter, Trump’s medium of choice. A global audience consumes and recycles his tweets without costing him a dime.

Facts? Meh.

It’s worth noting that Bloomberg blew through an estimated $1 billion in his own failed presidential bid. He bet most of that fortune on a big Super Tuesday showing, but the only win he got that night was American Samoa. So, maybe money doesn’t buy everything, even in politics.

But in a close race with early voting starting soon, pro-Biden ads can blanket Florida TV airwaves, both in English and Spanish. That can force Trump to play defense and devote more resources to expensive Florida media markets.

It also allows Biden to redirect money to other battleground states, and possibly force Trump to make tough choices. There are numerous stories about Trump’s lagging finances, and Bloomberg’s gambit may force him to spend less in places like the Midwest states and Arizona.

And there’s this.

“A lot of people have already made up their minds,” McManus said. “And some people I talk with are already sick of the political ads on TV. They just tune them out.”

It’s still $100 million, though. Bloomberg and the Democrats are all-in to win the most unpredictable, wackiest, and confounding state in the Union.

Written By

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

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