Sunday, February 02, 2020

Not Persuasion

 Politico reports that Mike Bloomberg's 60-second Super Bowl ad
which will cost the former New York mayor more than $10 million to broadcast nationwide on Sunday, tells the story of Calandrian Simpson Kemp, a Texas mother whose 20-year-old son, an aspiring professional football player named George, was shot to death in September 2013 outside Houston.

“Lives are being lost every day. It is a national crisis,” Kemp says in the ad. “I heard Mike Bloomberg speak. He’s been in this fight for so long. He heard mothers crying, so he started fighting.”

The personal testimony of Ms. Kemp is enhanced when she asserts “I know Mike is not afraid of the gun lobby — they’re scared of him,”  It is a powerful ad, though its apparent placement at halftime- an upbeat and superficial interlude- is questionable.

However, the main purpose of the ad isn't to introduce voters nationwide to the ex-New York mayor, to persuade Democrats to go Bloomberg, nor even to slam President Trump. At seen beginning at 5:20 of the video below, Chris Clllizza, noting that Trump also has made a Super Bowl buy, recognizes

But persuasion isn't really the goal of either campaign in running the Super Bowl ads.  Intimidation is. The message which each candidate wants to send is that he and his campaign have so much money that they can blow $10 million on a Super Bowl commercial and not lose a minute of sleep over it.

We already know that Donald Trump, an acknowledged bully, is very intimidating. It is the reason that in the impeachment matter, Repub senators were- very successfully- warned "vote against the president &your head will be on a pike.”

Bloomberg will try to be at least somewhat intimidating, a stunningly unusual approach for a Democrat.  And whatever else his (significant) faults, his money and persona cam make it happen. 

I'd skip the reference to "cheeseburger," a favorite of elderly white men at diners in rural Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, here is the Bloomberg campaign manager who once successfully won a lawsuit filed by Donald Trump against him:

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