In 2004, Mayor Bloomberg shows off the open-office "bullpen," then revolutionary, that he brought to City Hall. Photo: Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

Ignoring early states and refusing donations, Michael Bloomberg is trying an unorthodox route to the Democratic nomination that's based on skipping the usual slog and running a national campaign against President Trump from Day 1.

The big picture: Polling shows a daunting road, but Bloomberg insiders tell Axios the 77-year-old billionaire calculates that he has room to grow rapidly, since his backstory as a businessman, philanthropist and successful New York mayor isn't well known.

Details: One of the tabs on Bloomberg's website, which went live yesterday, is "Getting Stuff Done." The plan is to show him as the antithesis of Trump: programmatic, disciplined, focused.

  • But voters want an emotional connection, one of Bloomberg's challenges.

First look ... Bloomberg today will announce a hot surrogate: journalist and author Tim O’Brien is becoming a senior adviser to the campaign, leaving his role as executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion.

  • The former N.Y. Times reporter and editor got to depose Trump after the mogul sued him in 2006 over O'Brien's biography, "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald." The case was tossed in 2011.
  • From the forthcoming release: "O’Brien will advise the Bloomberg campaign on strategy, policy, and messaging, and serve as a surrogate."

Go deeper:

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.