The Dangerous Threat of Michael Bloomberg

If the former NYC mayor becomes the nominee, the Democratic Party will not survive

What if I told you the left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird?

This famous saying appears on dozens, if not hundreds of memes, and it’s something of a mantra among those who feel left out by both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

The concept of “the two parties are basically the same” has always felt ridiculous to me. As a progressive, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve felt disillusioned, disappointed, and just flat-out pissed off with the Democratic Party, I could buy Mike Bloomberg.

With that being said, I’m not an idiot. I‘ve been politically active for about seventeen years. I know there are very real differences between the two parties. Despite both being very friendly with big business and too quick to resort to austerity for everything other than the bloated defense budget, the Democratic Party has undoubtedly been the more progressive of the two.

If Mike Bloomberg becomes the nominee, that will no longer be the case.

First of all, Bloomberg is not a Democrat. I know some of his defenders will be quick to point out that he was a Democrat for a very long time before he switched parties to run for mayor. But let’s put aside the party labels and instead look at Bloomberg’s history.

In regards to Bloomberg’s terms as mayor, it’s already been well documented just how incredibly damaging his stop-and-frisk policy was for black and brown New Yorkers. We all know the draconian way he violated civil rights during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, a move that ended in the city paying an $18 million-dollar settlement to the protestors.

But it goes further. Blake Zeff’s excellent Twitter thread is an excellent examination of just how Bloomberg used the strength of his money to buy off any opposition to him. He even bought the city council so he could run for an illegal third term.

Bloomberg has made so many egregiously sexist and racist comments throughout his career. I don’t even need to provide links to them, you can just do a search. In fact, if you compiled all of Bloomberg’s racist, sexist quotes and all of Donald Trump’s, and created a “who said it?” quiz, I doubt anyone could pass.

Some may say that what we need is a billionaire of our own to effectively stop Trump. That’s a fallacy. In 2016, Clinton spent more money than Trump and she still lost. Money does not guarantee victory.

If the Democrats nominate Bloomberg, then maybe they defeat Trump. But what happens next? You have to understand that Bloomberg is two-faced. He talks about using money to support Democrats, but as recently as the 2018 mid-terms, he was funding Republicans as well. He may talk about criminal justice reform and raising taxes on the wealthy, but these are not things he really believes.

Think about this. The Supreme Court is on the precipice. The next president will likely have the opportunity to appoint at least one Supreme Court Justice. And that appointee will no doubt be to fill the vacancy of Ruth Bader-Ginsberg. Thanks to Donald Trump, we already have the most reactionary, partisan, hard-right Supreme Court in American history.

The only thing Bloomberg loves more than sexually harassing women or watching black and brown kids getting slammed against the wall is buying politicians. Do you really think this corrupt billionaire who has spent his entire career buying up every politician he could is going to appoint someone to the Supreme Court who is against Citizens United? Do you think this racist who believes that every black and brown kid is guilty until proven innocent is going to appoint someone who wants to see criminal justice reform?

What if Congress is able to pass a law raising the minimum wage? Is anti-minimum wage Bloomberg going to sign it or veto? Will this sexist sign a law guaranteeing equal pay for equal work? His views on drugs haven’t changed since Reefer Madness, do you believe he’ll sign a law legalizing marijuana? Of course he wouldn’t do any of those things, and we all know that.

And what pressure can we put on him? He doesn’t need financial support and he can buy up every single Democrat in Congress. Hell, maybe he’ll even change his party once he’s in the White House. Wouldn’t be the first time he’s switched parties for political opportunism.

“Yes, but he’ll get rid of the concentration camps Trump has set up. He’ll work to stop climate change.”

Will he? In the debate, he talked about negotiating with Big Oil. How well has that worked up until this point? How do you negotiate with an industry that paid off scientists to hide the data on climate change for decades? You think they’re going to play fair or even argue in good faith? They’re not.

And as for the concentration camps, we’ve already seen how far Bloomberg’s respect for civil rights can be extended and how pro-business he is. Any immigration reform attempted by Bloomberg would more than likely favor the companies that exploit immigrant labor for their own profits.

Bloomberg’s stances on things such as civil rights, corruption, drug legalization, even soda show that he has a frightening authoritarian streak. Trump is an authoritarian, yes, but he’s also so blatant and public that he’s ended up shooting himself in the foot several times. Take Trump’s authoritarian streak but add intelligence, measured responses, and competence. That’s Mike Bloomberg.

However, there’s an even greater threat to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg will destroy any credibility the Democratic Party still has

The argument Democrats were able to make to take back the House in 2018 is that they will be a check on Trump’s authoritarian impulses. They will hold him accountable. The Democrats asked the voters to put their trust in them to preserve democracy.

How will those arguments sound if the Democrats nominate their own billionaire authoritarian with a history of sexism and racism, just because he threw a lot of money at them?

If Bloomberg is the nominee, we will not have a unified party. The damage his nomination alone will cause to the credibility of the Democratic Party as an institution is indescribable. And we do not know how long it will last.

And if we go down this road, we will be setting a dangerous precedent. We will be telling every billionaire in America that if you want to be the Democratic nominee, then you don’t have to convince us to vote for you. You don’t have to prove that you share our values. You don’t even have to prove that you pass a minimum standard for decency. All you have to do is buy enough endorsements and throw enough money at the DNC so you can compete.

What happens to our credibility when we do that? What happens to democracy when we do that?

I’m a Sanders supporter. And I have been ever since I was driving to my low-cost commuter university and listening to Thom Hartmann’s “Lunch With Bernie” segments on Air America radio. But I have voted for the Democrat in every single election of my lifetime.

I would be ecstatic to vote for Elizabeth Warren. I’d be happy to vote for Tom Steyer. I would hold my nose to vote for Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, or Amy Klobuchar. I’d even vote for Tulsi Gabbard (and then drink myself into a coma for four years).

Because even with those candidates I don’t like, I can see a clear difference between them and Trump. I know that even if they don’t go as far as I’d like them to on the issues, they wouldn’t fundamentally alter democracy in a way that would be detrimental. At worst, they’d be no different from Bill Clinton. At best, they’d be no better than Barack Obama. And I’d be okay with that.

But I will not vote for Michael Bloomberg. He is not a moderate. He’s not even a conservative. He’s an authoritarian. And he will destroy what little credibility the Democratic Party still holds with the American people. If he becomes the nominee, regardless of whether he wins or loses, voters will have no reason to trust the Democratic Party in 2022 or 2024. The Democratic Party will take the trust the people have placed in them and they will burn it all down.

I don’t care which candidate you support. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re a progressive or a moderate, if you’re a socialist or a capitalist. The billionaires have enough power as it is. We cannot let Bloomberg buy either this election or our integrity.

So this is it. Take a cue from the candidates that stood on the debate stage in Nevada. They didn’t bother with civility when it came to Bloomberg. They tore off their gloves, donned their brass knuckles, picked up their baseball bats, and they went to town on his smug ass.

And it was a thing of beauty.

That is what every single one of us needs to do now. Because no matter who you support or your reasons for supporting them, Bloomberg cannot be allowed to gain any more momentum than he already has. We need to be out there daily countering his onslaught of advertising and fake social media influencers with a campaign designed to amplify one message louder than any other:

We are not for sale. Our democracy is not for sale.

Because if we don’t do that, if we don’t stop him, then this will no longer be a country worth fighting for.

Born and raised in Chicago, now residing in Japan. I teach media and film, host podcasts, and write genre fiction.

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