Bloomberg Isn’t Here to Save Our Democracy, He’s Part of What’s Wrong with It

by on February 10, 2020 · 7 comments

in Election, Under the Perfect Sun

by Jim Miller

After the Iowa debacle ended with an embarrassing mess that left Sanders and Buttigieg on top of the wreckage with Joe Biden struggling for air underneath it, a good number of corporate media pundits and panicked Democrats have been learning to love Mike Bloomberg.

Their lack of confidence in the inexperience of Mayor Pete, whose polling plummets once the primaries move to states with people who aren’t white, combined with their fear of a Democratic Socialist frontrunner has them pining for a billionaire savior.

With Trump riding high on his post-impeachment acquittal and the Democratic party not looking ready for prime time, many in establishment circles as well as fearful liberals terrified of the prospect of Trump’s re-election are finding solace in Bloomberg’s $60 billion fortune put in the service of evicting the current occupant of the White House before he further undermines American democracy in ways that will be long-lasting.

Thus, a sizable list of Democratic mayors who have been the beneficiaries of Bloomberg’s largesse along with other New Democrats, like San Diego’s own Scott Peters, are lining up to join the billionaire boys club.  Bloomberg’s considerable resources put in the service of a number of important causes and his image as a competent businessman are enough for some in Democratic circles to present him as the kind of Trump anti-matter who might just be the only thing that can save us from the Dark Lord.

Of course, all of this only makes sense if you simply see the problem as Donald Trump rather than the broken system of which he is the ugliest manifestation.  Unfortunately, however, such is not the case. Indeed, as Lisa Graves pointed out in the Guardian last week:

Newly uncovered documents reveal Trump and Bloomberg owe thanks in part to Koch for the power to tap their enormous personal fortunes to run for office.

Koch claimed in 2014 that “it was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.” The truth is he got involved in elections and trying to overcome election laws 45 years ago.

Archives show that Koch funding for the Libertarian party helped subsidize the legal effort that resulted in the infamous Buckley v Valeo decision, which equated spending money with free speech.

Buckley also created a loophole that allowed David Koch to self-fund his campaign for vice-president in 1980, establishing perhaps one of the most extreme examples of privilege in politics today: most Americans can’t afford to max out in campaign contributions, but a couple of billionaire white guys have what amounts to a supreme court-divined right to spend an unlimited amount on their own elections.

Hence rather than being the solution for what ails us, Bloomberg is a symptom of the disease.  Rolling out Mayor Mike’s billions won’t save our democracy; it will further our long slide into entrenched plutocracy.  The fact that so many Democrats are quick to ignore this fundamental fact should be disturbing to anyone who believes that American democracy needs to be more than a spectator sport for those without the means to buy their way into office.

As Graves notes, our current state of affairs marks, “a return to the robber-baron era of limited democratic control over corporations, which Koch fueled in innumerable ways.”  Touting Bloomberg as the best last hope isn’t a rallying cry to save American democracy, it’s a surrender to a world where, “The big money of a tiny few is swamping the voices of most Americans.”

Democrats shouldn’t be so afraid of losing to Trump that they end up endorsing the total corruption of our country’s democracy.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry February 10, 2020 at 11:50 am

I agree with you up to a point. But I really think that he is the only one that can beat trump. He has the governmental experience; he has the money; and he can be as nasty as trump but with an intellectual bent. Just sent in my absentee ballot, with the circle by Bloomberg’s name filled in.


Frank Gormlie February 10, 2020 at 11:57 am

One thing democrats left of center need to grapple with is the strong support for Biden by large numbers of African-American voters. If they perceive Biden faltering, Bloomberg may be the object of their support.


retired botanist February 10, 2020 at 3:36 pm

Ack, thank you so much, Mr Miller, for pointing out the OBVIOUS! We do not need another billionaire in the WH! We do not need another election, in which people vote for “the lesser of two evils”- My God, for how many years have liberals been doing that?!
If you are going to vote (assuming you aren’t permanently depressed by the electoral college situation) then for goodness sake, please vote for someone you actually believe in, rather than logging some dumbass anti-Trump vote!
Mayor Pete, Bernie, Warren, Klobuchar (not Biden), please choose someone who you feel has aspirations for fundamental change, not someone you think can “get Trump out”. Because, believe me, this isn’t about Trump. Its about money, its about core changes to wealth redistribution, regulating big business, revamping our election system, removing money from the entire election structure, working aggressively on climate change, etc.Its not about the ‘man or woman”, its about the system.
And Bloomberg, indeed, can just buy his way into the WH. So could Bezos, I guess. Is that really what you want?
And last, if the “other front runner”, whoever that turns out to be in our woefully corrupt, two-party system, is not someone you believe in, then consider not voting at all. I know this elicits rage and paranoia by those who believe that voting is the only recourse but then, my vote hasn’t even counted now in three elections… and I still take flak for the Nadar vote, all these years later.
Vote what you actually want and believe. That’s the point. That’s the ” Mitt Romney conscientiousness”, regardless of his particular religious affiliation…vote for change. Its badly needed :-)


Frank J February 11, 2020 at 8:07 am The only real chance we have to fix what the SCOTUS has done to our democracy.


Anna Daniels February 11, 2020 at 10:56 am

Dems have lost their damn minds.

Recent polling shows Buttegieg, Klobuchar, Biden, Warren, Sanders and Bloomberg with leads over Trump. ( A spread of 3-9 points) Which means that they are ALL theoretically electable.
& remember, a woman, no less, beat Trump with the popular vote in 2016, so yes, a woman is electable.

It is clear that the allegedly liberal leaning MSM and the Dem donor class are terrified of Sanders winning. I suspect they would respond the same way to a Warren surge.
(Chuck Todd compared Bernie’s online supporters to digital brown shirts, Chris Matthews imagines himself assassinated in Central Park by Castro supporters. Cable is a wasteland and NYT and WaPo can be appalling in their reporting.)

I am not endorsing Bernie at this moment although I will happily vote for him in Nov. if he is the nominee. That being said, Sanders is reviving the immensely popular and effective New Deal which was buried by Bill Clinton’s willingness to jump on the Reaganomics bandwagon and continue that dirty work.

As Matt Taibbi notes ” labor, the poor, minorities, soldiers, criminal defendants, students, homeowners, media consumers, environmentalists, civil libertarians, pensioners—everyone but donors” have been evicted from the big Democratic tent. It is clear which presidential candidates believe in the necessity of that big tent, not only to win an election, but to provide CPR on a democracy that is on life support.


retired botanist February 11, 2020 at 3:38 pm

Hear, hear! I say “Screw the tent”! A democracy is supposed to be a People’s Republic, not a Party Republic!


Frank Gormlie February 12, 2020 at 11:34 am

Chris Hayes of msnbc has been fairly supportive of Bernie.


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