Mike Bloomberg's campaign feels corporate. It's calm, orderly and punctual. His audiences clap politely, and you can't walk two steps without running into a paid staffer with talking points. Nobody whoops or yells. Nothing is left to chance. No expense is spared. The candidate is self-consciously low-key.
- Why it matters: The scale of Bloomberg's staff buildup and national advertising spending is unprecedented in modern American politics. His operation is coming to resemble his own personal political party.
After being immersed in Donald Trump's freewheeling White House and campaign for more than four years, Axios' Jonathan Swan found a day he spent flying around California with Bloomberg last week to be a foreign experience.
- Supporters didn't profess their love for Bloomberg like fans at Trump rallies, who come across as football fans cheering for their quarterback. Some at Bloomberg's rallies wore printed T-shirts saying: "I Like Mike."
- Bloomberg promises to govern quietly. "What about no tweeting from the Oval Office ever again?" he said to applause in Fresno.
- Even the protesters are well-behaved. During Bloomberg's speech in Compton on Monday, a young man, standing in silence, held up a sign saying: "Billionaires should not buy elections." At a Trump rally, the president would have told security: "Get him the hell out!" At the Bloomberg event, a staffer politely asked him to move to the back.
Between the lines: Part of the quietness can't be helped. Bloomberg's unlimited money cannot draft — at least not yet — tens of thousands of fired-up men and women in campaign hats to arenas all around the country.
- But Bloomberg supporters said they admired his wealth and accomplishments.
- They expressed anxiety about the state of the Democratic field, and were looking for a safe bet to beat Trump. One supporter said that you need a very rich man to beat Trump.
Bloomberg is being taken seriously by the national media and the president of the United States, although he doesn't track the typical path of a would-be nominee. And rivals are cranking up their anti-billionaire messages.
- On the day of the Iowa caucuses, Bloomberg's press plane was packed with national media — The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, AP, Reuters and Axios.
Bloomberg wore a navy suit and tie and mulberry sweater as he jetted around delegate-rich California. On the stump, he called himself the "un-Trump."
- His curtain-raisers introduced him with words like "pragmatic" and "practical." His stump speeches were laced with words like "decency" and "sanity," and phrases like "commonsense plans that are workable."
- Bloomberg is self-deprecating. He makes fun of his spelling and his age.
- He doesn't give nicknames to his Democratic opponents. He won't even criticize them unless prompted.
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