Did former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg just take a page out of the playbook of Sen. Ed Muskie from half a century ago?
In his first off-year election in 1970, President Richard Nixon ran a tough attack campaign to hold the 52 House seats the GOP had added in ’66 and ’68, and to pick up a few more seats in the Senate.
The issue: law and order. The targets: the “radical liberals.”
In that campaign’s final hours, Muskie delivered a statesmanlike address from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, excoriating the “unprecedented volume” of “name-calling” and “deceptions” from the “highest offices in the land.”
Nixon picked up a pair of Senate seats, but Democrats gained a dozen House seats, and the press scored it as a victory for Muskie, who was vaulted into the lead position for the 1972 Democratic nomination.
In the final days of this election, Bloomberg just invested $5 million to air, twice nationally, a two-minute ad for the Democratic Party that features Bloomberg himself denouncing the “fear-mongering,” and “shouting and hysterics” coming out of Washington.