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Mike Bloomberg waves to supporters in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Super Tuesday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Never in American history has a presidential candidate spent more to get less than Mike Bloomberg, making his buy-a-nomination bid a big bust. 

Why it matters: Bloomberg spent $600 million to win as many states as every American who chose not to run: zero. (He has American Samoa to show for it.)

  • Fellow billionaire Tom Steyer got off — and out — cheap by spending less than half that much to tie Bloomberg in states won.

What's next: Look for Bloomberg to drop out as soon as this morning, and try to save face by promising to spend a helluva lot more to defeat President Trump with someone other than him.

  • Bloomberg returned to New York after speaking in West Palm Beach last night. Sources expect him to address staff at his headquarters today.
  • He doesn't want history to remember him as the spoiler who helps Sanders win the nomination, or hands re-election to Trump.

What happened:

  • Bloomberg bet Joe Biden was toast. He was wrong. 
  • Bloomberg bet Democrats would rally around him as the Electable One. He was wrong.
  • Bloomberg bet he could buy support with TV ads, while avoiding tough media interviews. He was wrong.
  • Bloomberg bet on a brokered convention. That could still happen, but he appears dead wrong that Democrats would turn to him as their savior.

Bloomberg's rivals — especially Elizabeth Warren — went after aspects of his record as a businessman and former Republican and New York mayor, and Bloomberg stumbled badly in his first debate appearance.

  • They hit him for past lawsuits and court settlements with women in the workplace, New York's stop-and-frisk policy and his views on taxes and China.
  • They seized on the Democratic base's mistrust of billionaires and the #MeToo movement and painted Bloomberg as an out-of-touch elite.

What they're saying: A nighttime Twitter thread by Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey gives the candidate an exit strategy if he wants one, and space to redefine success:.

  • Sheekey said that in just 100 days Bloomberg had gone from 1% in polls to being "a contender," and built a national coalition that can defeat Trump.

A Bloomberg campaign official told Axios that the endorsement of Biden by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), and the departures of Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg from the contest, had a "profound impact" on Super Tuesday's results.

  • "I'm from New York, so I know Bloomberg," supporter Stephen Dickstein told Axios at Bloomberg's rally in West Palm Beach, Florida. "I think he has done an amazing job but he’s not gonna be the nominee."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 6 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 7 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.