One more reason that billionaires should not run for president without a serious self-examination about their weaknesses as a candidate: Money can buy you a presidential campaign staff, but it can’t necessarily buy you a good, motivated, disciplined one. The Nation gets the inside scoop on Mike Bloomberg’s apathetic, mercenary, and in some cases, grifting staffers.
Despite an almost limitless budget, the Bloomberg campaign would learn that money can’t buy loyalty. Staffers described an almost total lack of belief in Bloomberg himself. “Most people knew this was a grift,” one campaign official explained, describing even leadership as being unwilling to fulfill basic campaign responsibilities. “At our first office meeting, my [director] said, ‘We don’t need to canvass. We can just make calls, right guys?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, that’s sensible.’”
Another employee who specialized in social media explained how their coworkers’ lack of enthusiasm resulted in lackluster engagement with social media audiences, which often led to tweets so perfunctory—many would just copy and paste campaign talking points—that their Twitter accounts would get mistakenly flagged as spam and suspended.
Multiple people described elaborate schemes to undermine the campaign and help their favored candidates. As one staffer explained, “I would actively canvass for Bernie when I was supposed to be canvassing for Mike. I know of at least one team of ‘volunteers’ that was entirely fabricated by the organizers who had to hit their goals. It was easy enough to fudge the data to make it look like real people put in real volunteer work, when in reality Mike was getting nothing out of it.”
If you are thinking of running for office in the future, you may not want to hire anyone who worked for Bloomberg this cycle. Maybe the applicant was one of the good ones — although it sounds like there weren’t too many good ones — or maybe your applicant was one of the bad ones.