Across the counter from the American people sits Mike Bloomberg. His legs crossed and hands occupied writing a check, he looks to us over reading glasses and asks curtly “how much for the Presidency?”
American business is a backbone of the history of this country. It propelled us from a farm economy to modernity, it put us over the top in the second World War, and it made the United States the most powerful nation in the world. It also built Mike Bloomberg. The man wealthier than some African and South American nations believes his acumen in the business world and the former mayor of the largest city in the country, much like the man he hopes is his predecessor, is his ticket to the Oval Office.
But unlike Donald Trump, Bloomberg didn’t come down a gold-plated escalator from his own tower in Manhattan to cheers. Instead, he tepidly stuck a foot into the water to explore a run that many hoped he wouldn’t take into an already crowded field. The former Republican mayor, media and financial mogul, current billionaire, and philosophically enigmatic candidate for President ultimately decided his way into the race was to ignore the problems with his record and to start burning millions of dollars like Mickey Mouse shoveling coal into a steam train’s furnace in an old-time Disney movie. Nevermind the problems with race relations between African-American communities in New York City, with stop-and-frisk and the well-documented problems with police brutality in the city. Forget for a second the problems of how wildly out of touch a local leader has to be to think banning sodas over a certain size would solve obesity, rather than addressing poverty as a root cause of obesity.
Forget all of it. Think about what it means that in America, deep pockets mean that you can buy 10% in the polls. Spending more than some nations will produce in a year on advertisements will buy you 12%, as a Morning Consult poll has Bloomberg today. Do we want to live in a country where being able to connect to voters matters, or should we just run our campaigns on TV?
If you think Tom Steyer, the other billionaire in this race, is off the hook simply because he espouses progressive values then I would direct you to his theft of data from Kamala Harris and his attempt to buy endorsements. I would direct you to his policies being largely copycat from actual progressive politicians in the race. He, too, is buying up ads in Nevada and South Carolina, which has kept up the appearance of his viability. So again, we must ask ourselves, at what point do we say enough is enough buying elections from the American people? Are we comfortable selling our votes?
In an election, where not only American Democracy is on the ballot with defeating Trump, but where corruption is on the record do we really want to reward those who use their business instinct to buy open elections? How many vapid, vainglorious billionaires should we elect before we understand that there is not way in which they can possibly understand the struggle of living on two minimum wage jobs? How many passes should they get from a press which one of them has an actual company in? How many times will we kick the can down the road on corruption before we elect someone interested in actually doing something?
Lastly, how many times should we allow billionaires the power their money already gives them? Michael Bloomberg could buy the country of Sierra Leone. His personal wealth is 50 times the GDP of Gambia, and his yearly income is 10 times larger. His wealth is larger than the GDP of the state of Rhode Island. He holds the power with that wealth that could be his own nation. His companies could found and run a nation that would be able to get a rotating seat on the UN Security Council. Is this who deserves to be President, who wants to buy the Presidency? How much more power should we give men like Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg?
The answer is that they should close the checkbook on the Presidency, and their money should be spent on electing Democrats. Of course, party is secondary to their own power. There is not a billionaire in America who does not vote in their own self-interest. Bloomberg’s lack of a plan, and Steyer’s lack of originality are simply emblematic of the problems of the entitlement of capitalism in this country, and the lack of empathy from those who benefit from that system the most.
For the love of god, don’t give us another billionaire President.