Staffers for former New York city mayor Mike Bloomberg’s failed presidential campaign have described how the campaign imploded after Bloomberg’s Nevada debate performance, and detailed how Bloomberg’s vast campaign resources were taken advantage of.
“Most people knew this was a grift,” a campaign official told The Nation’s Ken Klippenstein — who reported extensively on Bloomberg throughout the campaign. Staff pointed to the debate as the moment of implosion, after Elizabeth Warren slammed Bloomberg as “a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians,’” and challenged him over his multiple non-disclosure agreements stemming from sexual harassment claims.
“The day after when we made calls people were like, ‘Oh yeah, I was thinking about him, but I’m not really sure anymore,’” a staffer said.
“Ever since the first debate all of us faced a ton of hostility” a field organizer added. “I once had a woman chase me back to my car demanding that I say you can’t buy the presidency.”
Despite paying his staff the best salaries and providing amenities — like free housing and meals and new iPhones — Bloomberg lacked loyalty and enthusiasm among his employees.
“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,’” an official said.
Staffers also admitted to siphoning away resources from the campaign to serve their own interests, with Bloomberg’s organizers in San Diego reportedly using Bloomberg’s funds for other local campaigns.
“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,” one person said.
Others detailed how Bloomberg’s social media campaign — which included paying $2,500 a month in exchange for staffers to text personal contacts and post daily on social media about Bloomberg — was so lackluster that accounts would be flagged as spam and suspended for copying and pasting campaign talking points.