Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders Welcomed Mike Bloomberg to the Race with Some Choice Burns

Bloomberg's money is like catnip for them.
November 26, 2019, 3:51pm
November 24th 2019 - Michael Bloomberg officially launches bid for 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. - November 19th 2019 - Michael Bloomberg takes steps toward entering the 2020 United States presidential election. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-254/STAR

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.

It looks like team Elizabeth Warren is getting its “BILLIONAIRE TEARS” mugs ready.

The senator from Massachusetts, not typically one to directly attack her Democratic competitors running for president, decided to suspend those rules for the race’s newest entrant: Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City and one of the 10 wealthiest people in the world.


“[Bloomberg is] making a bet about democracy in 2020: He doesn’t need people; he only needs bags and bags of money,” Warren said in a scorched-earth speech in Iowa on Monday.

“His view is that he doesn’t need people who knock on doors. He doesn’t need to get out and campaign with people,” she continued. “And if you get out and knock on 1,000 doors, he’ll just spend another $37 million to flood the airwaves. And that’s how he plans to buy a nomination in the Democratic Party.”

Bloomberg’s last-minute bid for the presidency is catnip for Warren’s campaign, which has largely staked its value on criticizing the outsized influence that wealthy donors have in the political process. Many of Warren’s most ambitious policy proposals, like Medicare for All and universal care for every child age 5 or younger, rely on an “ultra-millionaire tax” that would increase taxes on the wealthiest families in the U.S.

Warren has been the most vocally antagonistic of Bloomberg since he formally entered the race this week, but she’s far from the only one criticizing his strategy.

Bloomberg has the distinct honor of being the most widely disliked candidate running in the Democratic primary, a Morning Consult poll updated on Monday shows. A whopping 30% of the registered voters polled say they dislike him.

Another one of Bloomberg’s detractors is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had some strong words for Bloomberg in response to news of his multi-million-dollar ad buy.


“I’m disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy elections,” Sanders tweeted last week.

He continued: “If you can’t build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president.”

Earlier this month, as rumors of Bloomberg's plan to enter the race grew louder, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar also threw barbs his way.

“I don’t think you can just waltz in and instead of saying, ‘I’m good enough to be president,’ your argument is that the other people aren’t good enough,” she said on CNN.

But Bloomberg, who has a net worth of over $52 billion, is preparing to spend at least $37 million on television ads over the next two weeks to say exactly that. That’s about as much money as former Vice President Joe Biden raised in six months this year.

Overall, Bloomberg, who was previously registered as a Republican, is vastly outspending his rivals in the Democratic primary. For the period of Nov. 25-Dec. 3 alone, Bloomberg will spend just shy of $31 million. The next-highest spender, Joe Biden, will drop $1.2 million. Warren will spend only about $200,000.

The former mayor has tried to brand himself as the only Democrat capable of beating President Trump in 2020. Yet he also had a long record financially supporting at least a dozen current and former Republican members of Congress, including some Trump allies, like Republican Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.


He was also cozy with Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, when he was running for mayor of New York, and helped fund the Senate campaign of Scott Brown, who Warren successfully challenged in 2012.

“To come down and say he wants to be the head of the Democratic Party — the hubris is unbelievable,” one New York Democrat told Politico of Bloomberg’s bid.

In Iowa on Monday, Warren warned the crowd that any success Bloomberg enjoys will change the very nature of the American political system.

"If Michael Bloomberg's version of democracy wins, then democracy changes. And it's going to be about which billionaire you can stomach going forward," Warren said. "Because, believe me, there are plenty of billionaires who think they should be president or at minimum should be picking the president."

Cover image: November 24th 2019 - Michael Bloomberg officially launches bid for 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. File Photo by: zz/KGC-254/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 6/26/19 Michael Bloomberg at the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party held at Hyde Park in London, England, UK.