Last week’s debate was a nightmare for Mike Bloomberg. Not only was it likely the first time in years the business-information tycoon had a conversation that didn’t end with some variation of “very good, sir,” but the audience also seemed to take a particular delight in the billionaire’s public humiliation. Curiously, and for whatever reason, that was not the case in the South Carolina debate Tuesday night.
It’s not entirely surprising that Bloomberg, despite not even being on the ballot in South Carolina, would have had a vaguely friendly audience this evening. A local Charleston news station reported earlier this month that the only “guaranteed” way to get a ticket was to purchase a sponsorship ranging from $1,750 to $3,200. The rest of the tickets, though, were “first handed out to organizers. Then, campaigns may get some tickets to disperse among supporters.”
How those remaining tickets ended up getting doled out is anyone’s guess, but the one thing we do know for certain is that a vocal contingent of the audience really liked Bloomberg.
At one point, and for what seems to have been the first time ever, an audience actively, aggressively booed because someone spoke ill of billionaires.
At another point, Bloomberg got raucous applause for mentioning his support of … Moms Demand Action?
Not a traditional applause line, really, but sure, why not.
Even weirder was the angry jeering Elizabeth Warren received after mentioning an allegation from a former Bloomberg employee who claims that, upon learning that she was pregnant, Bloomberg told her to “kill it.”
As unusual as the audience reactions have been, Team Bloomberg must be delighted by the incredibly fortuitous circumstances that gave the ex-mayor his ideal audience. They couldn’t have planned it any better if they’d tried.
We’re desperate to learn more about these suddenly inspired Bloomberg-heads. If you know anything at all about how these passionate pro-billionaire activists came to be under one roof for the first time in history, please do let us know.
Support our 2020 coverage
Slate is covering the election issues that matter to you. Support our work with a Slate Plus membership. You’ll also get a suite of great benefits.Join Slate Plus