Bloomberg Is Finally Ready to Open His Wallet for Biden

Greg Lovett/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who pledged to spend big in order to help Democrats beat Donald Trump this November, is committing $100 million to support Joe Biden in the critical battleground state of Florida, where the former vice president is struggling to gain traction with the state’s Latino voters. 
The announcement on Sunday comes on the heels of Trump’s promise to spend “whatever it takes” of his own money after his campaign reportedly squandered its substantial cash advantage against Biden. (As my colleague Russ Choma wrote, it’s unclear if Trump even has enough cash on hand to make a real dent in the race.) Polls in Florida show that Biden’s lead in the Sunshine State has shrunk to a virtual tie in recent weeks. A senior adviser to Bloomberg said that the influx of cash in a notoriously expensive state for TV ads will free up Biden to spend campaign funds in other key states like Pennsylvania, where polls have similarly tightened.
Bloomberg’s commitment will come as a relief to Democrats, some of whom have wondered when the billionaire would be prepared to finally fulfill his promises to use his fortune to defeat Trump. But it also doesn’t appear to have come easily. The New York Times reported last week that Biden groups made multiple overtures to convince the billionaire to open his wallet to help in Florida, but Bloomberg aides largely resisted because the billionaire just wasn’t ready yet.
And while the $100 million marks a significant commitment, it’s still only 10 percent of what Bloomberg spent on his own presidential ambitions and 10 percent of the $1 billion he signaled he’d be willing to spend in order defeat Trump back in January, when he was still running for president and attempting to demonstrate unity with his Democratic rivals.
Of course, there’s still time to spend more, but with just 50 days to go till November 3, it’s hard to imagine Bloomberg suddenly pouring in an extra $900 million when it took him this long to commit to a fraction of that.