As expected, the billionaire New York publisher and former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg officially announced his candidacy as president of the United States, running as a Democrat. A lot of people are not pleased by this announcement, not the least of whom is Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, according to CNN. Bernie was very direct in his ire.
“We do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections, and that is why we are going to overturn Citizens United, that is why multi-billionaires like Mr. Bloomberg are not going to get very far in this election, that is why we are going to end voter suppression in America.”
Citizens United was a Supreme Court ruling that stated that campaign expenditures are a protected form of free speech. While corporations and labor unions cannot contribute directly to campaigns, they can express opinions in other ways, such as buying ads on TV and on Internet services. The ruling granted free speech protections to people like Bloomberg as well as groups of like-minded voters who seek to influence the political process. Bloomberg has taken full advantage of Citizens United through his super PAC in support of Democratic candidates.
Bloomberg, as seems to be the custom these days, announced his candidacy with a glossy video on Twitter. The video was accompanied by a tweet that stated:
“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government, and philanthropy will enable me to win and lead.”
Bloomberg’s argument to be president is, with some minor differences of details, is the same as Donald Trump’s was in 2016. I am rich and successful and the same skills that made me so will help me run the country.
The original tweet was followed by more that covered Bloomberg’s childhood, his youth, his young manhood, and his tenure as mayor of New York. Then he described how he has done battle with some of the usual villains in Democratic politics, including the gun lobby, big tobacco, and the fossil fuel industry. He is a billionaire, yes, but with his heart in the right place, unlike that other New York rich guy who does not have a heart, or so they say.
Pundits have noted that Bernie’s ire against Bloomberg and his candidacy is understandable. He and Elizabeth Warren have designated billionaires as enemies of the people in the Soviet sense. The American system does not allow for a gulag to send such wretches to. However, both Sanders and Warren want to strip billionaires like Bloomberg of their wealth and use it for schemes such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. The idea of a billionaire as president, whether it is Trump, loud and brash, or Bloomberg, calm a collective, is anathema to the socialist left.
Hot Air has found another problem surrounding the idea of Bloomberg as president.
“Bloomberg’s role in this 2020 race appears to be as an alleged centrist attempting to fuse what he believes is the best from both parties into some sort of coherent ticket for the White House. The problem is Bloomberg’s positions are neither centrist nor a fusion of any kind. His record is one of increasing the power of government whether it be through stop and frisk, raising taxes on everything from property to sugary drinks, and cracking down on public assemblies. Let’s not forget Eric Gardner would more than likely still be alive if the New York City law against “loosies” didn’t exist.”
Whether Bloomberg’s money will buy him votes and popularity is open to question. Tom Steyer, the other billionaire in the Democratic race, has not been very successful. Currently, Steyer is polling at 1.3 percent in the Real Clear Politics average, despite dolling out an immense amount of cash on ads. Undaunted, Bloomberg intends to spend at least $30 million.
Hot Air also notes a couple of other problems Bloomberg must face. He is nine months older than Joe Biden, who is also already occupying the centrist lane in the Democratic race. Absent a collapse of the Biden campaign which, despite everything, does not seem to be happening, Bloomberg has nowhere to go. So all he will serve will be as a foil for Sanders and Warren as the personification of the alleged evils of great wealth.