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Why Bloomberg’s Digital Spending Couldn’t Save Him | WSJ

Why Bloomberg’s Digital Spending Couldn’t Save Him | WSJ

– Let me jog, I’ve been very lucky. Something’s got to be done. – [Narrator] From the beginning of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, he bet on Super Tuesday, seeing it as an opportunity
to enter the race and scoop up a substantial
number of delegates. – I’m in it to win it, and.
(crowd cheering) – [Narrator] That didn’t pay off. Bloomberg ended his big for president after winning only one nominating
contest in America Samoa. – I entered the race for
president to defeat Donald Trump, and today, I am leaving the
race for the same reason, to defeat Donald Trump, because staying in would make it more difficult
to achieve that goal. – [Narrator] Tuesday’s results
set up what looks to be more like a two-person race between former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, but if you were looking
at your Facebook feed ahead of Super Tuesday, it
probably didn’t feel that way. – [Woman] We have a choice to make. – [Narrator] Bloomberg
spent at least $620 million on building his campaign
and spreading his message before dropping out. About 75 million of that went to digital where his social media strategy was both unique and controversial. At the center of those
efforts was Hawkfish, a digital tech firm Bloomberg owns. It was set up not just for him, but to help Democrats generally. – So Mike Bloomberg created
Hawkfish in spring of 2019, and a lot of Bloomberg’s
advisors really believed that Trump won the 2016 election because of their very
strong digital effort. – [Narrator] So the firm’s primary focus was on digital advertising
on Facebook and Google. Bloomberg ran ads on issues
such as climate change and gun safety reform, though most were focused on
attacking President Trump, and that’s something that could outlast Bloomberg’s bid for president. Hawkfish also experimented with new ways of reaching younger voters. There was this meme or
Bloomberg’s face on a meatball and this one that the Bloomberg campaign paid a popular Instagram account to post. Separately, there was this doctored video where Bloomberg asks– – I’m the only one here I think that’s ever started a
business, is that fair? – [Narrator] And the other
candidates appear to fall silent. – So a bunch of Democratic
strategists and others said that that video was misinformation. The Bloomberg campaign said
it was tongue-in-cheek. – [Narrator] More controversial, however, was the Bloomberg campaign’s use of what it calls deputy digital
organizers in California. The Wall Street Journal reported that the campaign hired
hundreds of workers to post regularly on their
personal social media accounts in support of Bloomberg and then send text messages
to their friends about him. – While it’s totally common for different political
campaigns to ask their supporters to spread the message by word of mouth, it’s quite unusual to
pay thousands of dollars to get that support. Then it gets into this murky
area of what the rules are, so do you have to disclose if you’re paid for writing a post? Yes, generally, you have to, and the Federal Trade Commission says you have to for businesses, but the Federal Election Commission which oversees campaign finance law does not yet have a
specific rule on that front. – [Narrator] A lot of tech
platforms like Facebook, which owns Instagram, Google, and Twitter have tried to set their own
rules for political content, but their policies differ on when and exactly what
a user has to disclose. – We are in this ultra-digital
social media-infused climate, and a lot of the rules have
not caught up to the content. – [Narrator] Now the question is, will Bloomberg keep
spending against Trump? When ending his bid, he endorsed Biden. Hawkfish is expected to keep
working on behalf of Democrats. – Hawkfish has done work before that doesn’t involve Mike Bloomberg. In the 2018 midterms, it worked
on state legislative races in states like Kentucky and Virginia, so we think it’s possible
that they could do that type of work again, and sources have said
that they will stay open throughout the general election.

Reader Comments

  1. The video don't answer the question. So I will:
    People just don't like him. He fabricated this persona but he smells like clear water. He didn't want to be president, he was trying to take over Trump.

  2. Bloomberg only wanted to ruin Bernie's opportunity. That is all and to the billionaire's…it is worth every penny.

    Bernie 20/20

  3. Bloomberg knows Epstein very well. The lying media is Complicit as well, we're only coming for your heads next. You all have addresses, America wake up to these private island Sickos

  4. I’m not a “political expert” but I’ll tell you why. BLOOMBERG is NOT LIKEABLE

    Political advisors like the ones in this piece got rich. Politics is a business

  5. Simple Answer : the more money you have , the more comfortable & complacent you become , more chances are there you d easily be defeated

    Victory defeats the warrior in people

  6. I think he only wanted to be president to be part of that exclusive club. Only a few lucky people will ever be president.

  7. Facebook owns Google? Please WSJ… Just Google it. I guess even basic knowledge is too much to expect from media companies these days.

  8. Bloomber was the best choice for Democrats, but these democrats are so progres they dont like millioners. And also bloomberg is an engineer and the sobs democrats partisans dont like him.

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  10. It's simple, he was a republican pretending to be a Democrat.. just like Biden. No wonder they are good buddies now.

  11. Maybe I heard wrong but I thought they said he started the company in 2019 earlier and then at the end said it did work in 2018?

  12. Bloomberg the idiot who wants to sell us American people as capital stocks

  13. Imagine the lives you could save and redirect into a better lifestyle with 75 million. Instead of wasting it on advertising

  14. Dear wsj! Please tell me who is the real sick man of north america???????LooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  15. Good try but Trump taking them dub again. Democrats don’t really have a strong candidate. Thank god I don’t have to see those stupid “Mike will get it done” ads on YouTube lol

  16. Sarcastic and entertaining seeing a bunch of muricans talking about money can't buy presidency. Looks like the money other candidates raised does not constitute money ?

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  18. Trump is rich, but not Bloomberg rich. So people at least feel like Trump is closer to them than Bloomberg. And its not like mythically rich people are very out of step from humans like Bill Gates but he went philanthropic since decades ago. But Bloomberg… He's always in wall street and never deign to talk to common peasants.

  19. let get real you not making me feel sorry he lost.
    do you think people will decide with a guy from new york and it people?after how they act under trump and aoc being from new york.
    the day i stop worrying if mike had a change is when he came to Tennessee and the south.
    know he would lose than
    most people seen mike just jealous of what trump had

  20. Wall Street Journal mostly has a very interesting and well structured introduction and they really do a get job referring to a problem. However, WSJ never really comes to a conclusion with a valid statement. It is as if WSJ cut the video in half in published the first part.

  21. For every point he made that I agreed with, he made another point that I disagreed with. So why would I pay any attention to him?

  22. The Ads didn't work because they were unskipable, unskipable Ads are already irritating coupled with a prune faced geezer just added fuel to the fire….

  23. So basically an out of touch billionaire boomer bent the rules, spent 620 million and now is for sure not going to be president.

  24. Imagine being so rich that spending half a billion doesn’t make a dent in how rich you are. Trump is a small fry compared to how rich Bloomberg is.

  25. Trump simply used his twitter account and saw ridiculous things and got all the left wing media to post about it. Free advertising. Bloomberg's digital campaign didn't work, simply because he's not likeable/funny/meme-able.

  26. What?? I think it totally worked. I mean i think he surely overperformed. He got more support than he could've get without the money so

  27. But so called his political advisers made huge money, playing through ambitions of this Mini Mike. Only and real winnires are his election managers and political advisers, and of course ad companies

  28. Means that money can’t buy you everything. Also, people have learned their lesson with the dirty tactics Trump used.

  29. I’m sorry but these old politicians and billionaires really don’t understand young people. We aren’t that complicated you don’t need to flood our feeds to get us on your side it’s not like we actually watch and listen to the ads on our screen

  30. To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To a billionaire, every task looks like it can be bought. Bloomberg is actually very intelligent, and would have been a very strong candidate if he had been in the contest the entire time, campaigning on issues and proffering solutions. But him coming out with that arrogance, flouting his wealth, thinking that he could use his money to earn votes was what made him seem out of touch. He should've entered the contest around the time Gillibrand dropped out.

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