As the tiresome American election cycle wearily plods towards the first primaries, with disdain for billionaires and the dramatic wealth inequality largely defining the campaign so far, billionaire Mike Bloomberg apparently said to himself: “You know what they want? A billionaire!” In recent weeks, this unfairly wealthy human has ‘tested the waters’, coyly signing up to appear on Democratic primary ballots, while allowing the media ecosystem that he has a massive amount of control over write glowing pieces about how much value Bloomberg would add to the conversation. Now, Bloomberg is in for ‘real’, eschewing the early primaries, because, well, he can do whatever the hell he wants. He’s a billionaire, after all! He pushed a tiny, infinitesimal fraction of his fortune into the ring, and it translated into the largest ad buy in primary history, to the tune of $34 million. For perspective, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has the largest donor base of the prospective nominees, with over one million, raised $25.3 million in the third–quarter. Read those numbers back, and you’ll get an idea of the scale and scope of Bloomberg’s power, and the plainly unfair nature in which a man like this can get involved.
It is a true testament to Bloomberg’s ego that he has decided to do this. A deliriously warped view of the political process is the only thing that could make this human think he deserves to get in the race at this point, and that anyone at all actually needed him to. The overwhelming majority of Democratic voters have declared they were satisfied with the candidates already on offer, and hell, we already had a billionaire in the race! The show of force is so obviously undemocratic. What is the power of this money? This show of force? Well, the latest polls have Bloomberg around five percent. He’s already ahead of the likes of Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the race on Tuesday, partly in reaction to the introduction of Bloomberg to the campaign. Andrew Yang, who has emerged as an outsider candidate with a large online following, trails a man who just sort of showed up and was like, hey I really don’t want Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders to be the nominee, so I’ll just throw this totally insignificant percentage of my fortune at the problem, and at the very least I’ll cause some annoyance.
Bloomberg, like all billionaires, could do so much with the money they’ve undeservedly raked out of the population, labour base, and resources of this world. Hell, if he wanted to, he could find dozens of Senate and House candidates to support. He could get people clean water. Instead, he’s doing this. That might be the most telling thing of all. The mere act of running this campaign ought to disqualify him from winning it.
One wonders where the Democratic establishment rests on this, but you can be sure it will tragically give better praise to his candidacy than the likes of Bernie Sanders. Sanders, you see, is not even really a Democrat! He had the audacity to exist as an independent Senator, and now he dares to try to foist the Democratic nomination away from the party itself! Yet, who amongst the power brokers in the DNC will take to the airwaves to lambast Bloomberg for only re–registered as a Democrat last year, after leaving the party in 2001?
For now, candidate Bloomberg has no chance of appearing in any Democratic debates. That’s because he does not have the minimum number of donors required, and has decided he doesn’t need to bother with donors because he’s so rich. He’ll try to sell this off as selflessness and he’ll sadly get away with it. But, in reality, a donor requirement is a must, precisely because this is a vote to be won, not a contest to be purchased on the airwaves. There’s already talk of the party changing the rules to make room for the 14th richest person on earth, because well, he’s the 14th richest person on earth. Not that Bloomberg actually cares. Here’s what he has to say about it, “It is up to the DNC. They can set the rules,” Bloomberg told reporters in Virginia on Monday. “If they set the rules where I qualify, I would certainly debate. If they set the rules where I don’t qualify, then I won’t.” A brutishly anti–democratic sentiment that is of course being spun as some sort of philanthropic act. This is a man who thinks he can win a primary contest without actually facing any of his opponents. He’ll be able to remain unchallenged, flooding the television sets around the nation, and playing pretend that he’s a real candidate, maybe for long enough that he will force the party to consider him so. V