If you’re like me, you may have been hoping for this. The only thing that would be better is Hillary making another attempt. All of this just makes the message of the left clearer:
The very wealthy are in opposition to us fundamentally, and need to be reigned in so we can all have a better life.
And when you get people like Bloomberg entering the race, it just shows how threatened plutocrats and elites really are. The enemies come out of hiding and reveal themselves.
I remember back before the 2016 election took off: Glenn Greenwald, writing in The Intercept, discussed the possibility of a race between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton:
Having someone who is the brother of one former president and the son of another run against the wife of still another former president would be sweetly illustrative of all sorts of degraded and illusory aspects of American life, from meritocracy to class mobility.Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept
That one of those two families exploited its vast wealth to obtain political power, while the other exploited its political power to obtain vast wealth, makes it more illustrative still: of the virtually complete merger between political and economic power, of the fundamentally oligarchical framework that drives American political life.
We all know what happened since then. But Glenn’s article is still poignant today, if anything because he perfectly described how obvious and insulting the elite hold on politics is.
And as if to prove Glenn’s point, Bloomberg has finally jumped into the race.
But what compelled me to reiterate this is actually an article from a conservative publication. “When Plutocrats Take Off the Mask and Run for Office,” by James Pinkerton in The American Conservative, to be precise. The fact that this situation is so clear that conservative critiques sound like leftists’…yeah.
The article starts off with a reminder of what left-wing radicals believe: that politics was just a mask for Capital, which is the true power of our modern era. It then proceeds to talk about how plutocrats have entered the political arena in greater numbers than before.
The article sort-of-accurately identifies that Trump is anomalous, for being a Republican plutocrat (I think the article severely downplays uber-wealthy Republican politicians, including Mitt Romney as recently as 2012 and John McCain in 2008, but we can leave that alone for now). As Pinkerton explains, the Democratic primary is revealing just how desperate the rich are to stop the progressives. Not just that, but how the Democratic Party is fundamentally a party of the wealthy.
If you need a refresher, here are the plutocrats who either are in contention for the presidency or were recently:
- Donald Trump: a “billionaire”
- John Delaney: a centi-millionaire
- Tom Steyer: a billionaire
- Howard Schultz: a billionaire
- Michael Bloomberg: a real fucking billionaire
Yeah, there were rich people in the race. There have been rich people worried about progressives like Bernie or Warren taking the nomination (though if we’re being realistic, Bernie is the real threat to them). But is there any person who seriously thinks Delaney will get far? Or that Tom Steyer will win? Was anyone surprised when Schultz dropped out? Maybe things weren’t so bad.
But then came Michael Bloomberg. He’s not “just” a billionaire. He’s one of the richest billionaires–by many accounts, the 8th-9th richest person in the world, worth something like $55 billion.
Even conservatives, like the one I linked to, can recognize the struggle, even if imperfectly. The New York Times is no friend to the left, but they captured it pretty well with this report, aptly titled Anxious Democratic Establishment Asks, ‘Is There Anybody Else?’:
When a half-dozen Democratic donors gathered at the Whitby Hotel in Manhattan last week, the dinner began with a discussion of which presidential candidates the contributors liked. But as conversations among influential Democrats often go these days, the meeting quickly evolved into a discussion of who was not in the race — but could be lured in.
Would Hillary Clinton get in, the contributors wondered, and how about Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor? One person even mused whether Michelle Obama would consider a late entry, according to two people who attended the event, which was hosted by the progressive group American Bridge.By Jonathan Martin for The New York Times
(By the way, Sanders only gets mentioned briefly, in reference to 2016. You’d think he’s a nonentity to party elites if you only read this article. Funny.)
So if you’re a leftist like me, it’s easy to feel smug. It’s easy to say, “see how threatened plutocrats feel?” It’s so clear that anyone with half a brain can see it. Frankly, I have no jaw-dropping conclusions or mind-blowing points to make about this.
I’m just noting that it’s happening, re-emphasizing how naked class war has become in politics. I’m just saying, holy shit. My one takeaway, actually, is this: this is an asset. It’s a gift, so if you need to convince your grandparents or friends about how things really are, use it.
Thanks for joining the race, Bloomberg. Any chance you can get Hillary in, too?