The voting-app debacle in Iowa wasn’t bad for everyone. It was good news for Donald Trump, who immediately started tweeting about the Democrats’ misfortunes: “Nothing works, just like they ran the Country.” And it provided an opening for Michael Bloomberg—the billionaire former New York City mayor, who, having entered the Democratic primary race late, has decided to skip the early contests, and is instead campaigning everywhere else. On Tuesday, his campaign announced that it would double its TV ad spending. While the other candidates were in Iowa, Bloomberg was in California, on a kind of private-jet whistle-stop tour of the state. I followed, because I was interested in scoping out the crowd. The Trump supporter has, by this point, become an American archetype, and we have a mental picture of the Bernie Bro: young, passionate, perhaps bearing scruffy facial hair. The iconic Elizabeth Warren supporter might be the astute middle-aged Iowa woman who told an MSNBC reporter, on Monday night, “My next-door neighbor’s pretending to be undecided so that people will woo him. That’s a quote.” But who are Bloomberg’s superfans?
There were some clues in Sacramento, on Monday morning, where about a hundred people crammed into a warehouse coffee shop, for a kick-off rally before a day of canvassing. Many of them looked vaguely like Bloomberg himself: trim, with calm demeanors and salt-and-pepper hair. They wore performance vests and sensible shoes. Several wore T-shirts that said, “I LIKE MIKE2020欧洲杯体育投注网,” in huge letters, although, upon inspection, most of the people wearing the T-shirts turned out to be paid campaign workers. Given the size and scope of the Bloomberg operation—it pays roughly twice the going rate of the other Presidential campaigns, and will soon employ more than two thousand staffers—it can be difficult to distinguish regular Bloomberg supporters from current, former, and hopeful employees. (Bloomberg has promised his staffers jobs through November, whether or not he’s still in the race.)
At around 7:30 A.M., the candidate took a microphone. Some politicians don populist garb for a day in the field: jeans, a work shirt. But Bloomberg was dressed as Bloomberg: he wore a navy blazer with gold buttons, a purple sweater, and a tie. The impression was not of a politician but of a sensible boss, speaking at a company gathering. He opened with genial banter about the Super Bowl, commiserating with 49ers fans. And then he spoke, in a wandering way, about the problems the country faces, including climate change, a lack of affordable housing, and student debt. In a one-on-one interview, Bloomberg told me that he wants to make people aware of his managerial skills. “And maybe they’re starting to think that the job”—the Presidency— “is2020欧洲杯体育投注网 being a manager,” something that Trump is not very good at.
“Donald Trump’s just the wrong guy for the job,” he said in Sacramento, when he was talking about the country’s problems. “I can’t solve them, but I can pull the teams together that know how to solve them.” He brought up the crowd he’d attracted on a recent trip to Phoenix and added, wistfully, “I wish my parents were alive to see this. . . . Although my mother died at one hundred and two; she lived long enough to help swear me in my first term as mayor. I have a picture of she and my father when I became an Eagle Scout. Anyway, thank you all for coming.”
2020欧洲杯体育投注网A man in the crowd, Paul Page, seemed a little stunned. “That was the most low-key campaign speech I’ve ever heard,” he said. “His finger wasn’t in the air. He wasn’t shouting. I expected to see a politician. I saw a businessman.” Page, who is sixty-seven, looks like a more rugged version of Roger Sterling from “Mad Men.” He recently retired, after years running his own graphic-design and marketing business. He’s a Republican. “I think you’d describe me as a Never Trumper,” he said. “I believe in free markets and capitalism. I’m desperate for someone to vote for.” His interest in Bloomberg was pragmatic: “I think a vote for him would be a vote for: stop the madness. Just have someone competent run the country for four years.” Cheryl Cerna, who is also retired, from a career doing project management for construction projects, said she liked Bloomberg’s professionalism. “I’ve worked for engineers, architects, department heads. What upset me about the impeachment hearings was to hear people trashing experts.”
2020欧洲杯体育投注网A few hours later, Bloomberg was a hundred and eighty miles south, delivering a speech in a lush, Spanish-style courtyard at Fresno City College, for an event organized with a group called Ganamos Con Mike. Coldplay’s rendition of U2’s “Beautiful Day” played as Bloomberg took the stage. In the parking lot, a taco truck and a churro truck dispensed free snacks to event-goers and passing students. Reading from a teleprompter, Bloomberg drew contrasts between himself and Trump. “He tweets. I follow facts and respect data and tell the truth.” And he offered a quick biography, starting with his humble upbringing. “At thirty-nine years old, I got laid off. ‘Laid off’ is a nice way of saying, I got fired! But I got back up on the horse and I started a company from scratch.”
A woman named Annika Pitcher said she liked the speech. “He built his empire after the age of forty. As someone who’s over the age of forty, I’m thinking, Maybe I can do that!” Pitcher, a former sales executive, was wearing leggings, Uggs, and big sunglasses. She and her husband are “in a high tax bracket” and had donated to “Amy and Pete,” she said, but she also liked Bloomberg, because he’s a capitalist, and she wants the Democratic candidate to reach voters who are turned off by socialism. “My husband’s family is very pro-N.R.A. We have family serving in the military. My in-laws are pro-Trump.”
2020欧洲杯体育投注网Pitcher was accompanied by a gaggle of high-school students, whom she’d sprung from classes to see the speech. They included her daughter, Emma, and Emma’s two friends Nick and Kimiya, who are Bernie Sanders fans. Nick hadn’t been swayed by Bloomberg’s pitch, and was skeptical of Pitcher’s argument about her N.R.A.-loving relatives. “Donald Trump appeals to people because they don’t like the liberal élite making fun of hillbillies,” he said. “But Bloomberg’s the ultimate New Yorker.” People in swing states like Michigan and Pennsylvania may not like that.
2020欧洲杯体育投注网“That’s a good point,” Pitcher said.
Kimiya raised a fist and shouted, “Bernie 2020!”
A few hours later, Bloomberg’s campaign bus, the Get It Done Express, was parked outside of a sparkling new community center in Compton, the historically African-American city south of Los Angeles. Bloomberg was introduced by two young black mayors: Michael Tubbs, the twenty-nine-year-old mayor of Stockton, and Aja Brown, of Compton, who said that she hadn’t initially been interested in Bloomberg, but he had won her over by paying a visit to her office. “I believe that Mike can get it done,” she said. The speech was interrupted by a few protesters, one of whom held up a sign that said, “Billionaires Should Not Buy Elections.” Another man heckled from a back row, shouting, “Stop-and-frisk! We don’t forget!” When Bloomberg said, “You and I will reclaim and rebuild the promise of this country, the promise of America that got our ancestors to come here,” the heckler, who was black, called out, “Not mine!” He said his name was Gregory, and that he was a retired bus driver. (He’d been filming the speech, and his commentary, in order to put it on Facebook.)