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Opinion

Bloomberg's Facebook takeover

Daily Point

(M)ad Man

You may have heard that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is spending a lot on advertising these days: reportedly over $250 million since he started his run. 

But the sheer power of his ad-drop is hard to fathom without looking at those ads in action. Take his Facebook ads, which the social media giant’s archive allows us to see in detail. 

An overwhelming amount of the Facebook ads active Friday were video ads, which isn’t the case for other 2020 contenders. 

Political strategists say that video ads are more expensive to make and run, and they perform better than static ads with viewers. 

Deep pockets allow Bloomberg to run dozens of video ads on subjects that include maternal mortality, health care, abortion, President Donald Trump’s attitude toward the military, gun violence, climate change, college affordability, the minimum wage and a graphic comparing the cost of three gallons of milk to an hour's work. While other candidates tweak the colors and text on their still ads, Bloomberg can do strategic variants of video after video. Take a video on the high costs of college: there’s a version with a male narrator targeted mostly to men, and another with a female narrator targeted mostly to women. 

Many of those active ads are more issue-based than biographical, allowing Bloomberg to range widely with vague but straightforward slogans like “Mike will get it done” and the more whimsical “MIKE GETS S@#% DONE.” 

Bloomberg spent nearly $5 million to run Facebook ads like these in the seven days ending Jan. 22. For context, big-spending Trump put out just over $700,000 worth during that period. Top Democratic contenders Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden spent $300,000 and $75,000 on Facebook, respectively. 

The heavy wool blanket of ads hasn’t vaulted Bloomberg into the top tier yet, though he has jumped ahead of the likes of former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar in recent polls. 

And the ads, which have even run on Fox News Channel, have grabbed the attention of the president and earned Bloomberg some Trump tweets, including the nickname: “Mini Mike.”

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Data Point

Population trends show LI’s future

The latest demographic survey confirms that Long Island is quickly becoming a much more diverse region.

According to American Community Survey (ACS) numbers, the white population across much of Long Island is decreasing, while the black and African-American population is increasing. The Hispanic community also is growing in parts of Suffolk County, and the Asian population saw a significant increase in areas of Nassau County. Overall, the racial and ethnic makeup of Long Island is rapidly becoming more similar to that of Manhattan than the postwar suburb that had defined Long Island. 

To see specific demographic numbers and detailed breakdowns on the makeup of Long Island, click here.

—Michael Cusanelli @mcusanelliSB

nextLI is a platform for participating in civic life on Long Island. It features data analysis and independent research. It is a project of the Newsday Opinion department funded by a charitable grant from The Rauch Foundation.

Pencil Point

Can't stop this train

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/opinion

Reference Point

The never-ending health care battle

The ongoing debate about health care in the lead-up to the Democratic presidential primaries is focused on Medicare for All. It was also raging 71 years ago in the editorial pages of Newsday.

The prompt then was a proposal from President Harry Truman for a universal national health insurance plan, which was being fought vociferously with the American Medical Association leading the charge. Newsday’s editorial board, which did not welcome Truman’s plan, summarized the talking points on both sides, and took a quick look at national health systems in the Soviet Union and Britain, whose National Health Service was all of six months old.

“Many a Briton turns hypochondriac at the offer of something for nothing. Doctors are rushed to death. The quality of their work is declining,” the board wrote on Jan. 20, 1949, while acknowledging it was too early to predict the ultimate effects of “socialized” medicine in Britain.

The board seemed to acknowledge that health insurance must be provided through government or philanthropy for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it, but its final judgment hewed to its skepticism about the ability of government to do anything well.

“Compulsory insurance cannot repair shortages of doctors, nurses and hospitals,” the board wrote. “It will make shortages shorter. But thousands of deserving Democrats will wrangle bureaucratic jobs of accounting, auditing, inspecting, investigating, etc., at everybody else’s expense.”

Truman had to wait until 1965 before he could attend the ceremony at which President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, but Give ’Em Hell Harry died many decades before the Affordable Care Act became the law of the land in 2010. 

At least for now.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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