The yearlong debacle that is the Democratic primary nomination contest has begun to finally wind down in recent months, as the candidate field has been whittled down to a mere seven contenders. As politician after politician after spiritual guru realized that their candidacy was not viable, they withdrew from the field, allowing those who had managed to survive the brutal months-long popularity contest to consolidate support and continue with their bid for the oval office.
However, while most figures realized that the consolidation of popularity among figures like Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg meant that their own candidacies were bound to fail, one man saw the effects of Democratic natural selection and thought, “how can I use money to mess everything up?”
That man was, yes, you guessed it, Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City.
In the four months that he has been in the 2020 race, Bloomberg has spent more money than all the other candidates combined, amounting to a mind-boggling sum of $450 million dollars. As a result of his barrage of ads, he has gained significant support in national polls for the Democratic nomination, making him a serious challenger to the current Democratic frontrunners. Bloomberg’s rapid rise to prominence should be viewed with alarm, however, as he comes from a class of people, billionaires, that should not exist, as they have achieved a level of wealth made possible only by extorting those with less power. As a member of that class, Bloomberg inherently cannot be trusted to lead the United States, because by taking the surplus labor and capital of his workers to add to his fortune rather than increasing pay and benefits, Bloomberg has shown that he cares not for ideas of equality and justice but solely for cold hard cash. This lack of care is evident in his choice to campaign using thousands of calculated, targeted, and selective ads instead of creating a connection with voters and showing them that he has ideas that deserve their trust, demonstrating that he isn’t worthy of becoming president.
While some people, mostly the bourgeoisie and those who wear Canada Goose jackets, believe that the billions of dollars amassed by individuals such as Bloomberg are a result of “hard work” and “grit,” no one person should be allowed to obtain that much money, as there is no way to get that rich without extorting those below you. When asked during the Democratic primary debates in Nevada last week about his massive fortune, Bloomberg answered that he deserved it as he had, quote, “worked hard for it.”
Such an answer perpetuates the false idea that becoming a billionaire is simply an extension of the American Dream, and that any individual who “works hard enough” can achieve the same level of wealth as Bloomberg. This statement fails to hold up, however, when considering the sheer amount of money that Bloomberg has. Michael Bloomberg’s net value as of Feb. 25, 2020, is 65 billion dollars. That’s $65,000,000,000. If all those zeroes didn’t blow you away, consider the fact that in order to be as rich as the former mayor you would have to have earned $3500 every hour for the past two thousand and twenty years. Such an immense sum of money is clearly not something that can be accumulated by simply “working hard,” because that implies that only 0.0000003666% of the world is really on that grind.
Instead, the reason that people like Bloomberg are able to become so rich is by managing their finances in such a way that profit is valued exponentially higher than anything else, including the well-being of workers and the environmental effects of their company. While it’s true that the concept of a business is to produce profit, the extent to which people like Bloomberg have prioritized the pointless expansion of their own wealth is immoral. While reaping the benefits of your work is understandable, Bloomberg, and those in a similar income bracket, must have reached a point in their lives where they became so affluent that no further increase in wealth would make their lives any cushier. At that point in time, probably around the $5 billion dollar mark or so, which is still an ungodly amount of money, Bloomberg and his ilk must have made the conscious decision to continue acting in such a way that emphasized their own accumulation of material goods over diverting those assets to those who needed them more. By choosing to continue needlessly making even more money rather than changing their business practices to distribute wealth more equally, billionaires like Bloomberg have displayed a level of complete selfishness that is absolutely unfathomable, making them inherently morally corrupt.
As a member of a class of people whose sheer wealth demonstrates this selfishness and lack of care for the average person, Bloomberg clearly doesn’t have the best interests of the country at heart and therefore, would be a selfish and harmful president. The battle to win the nomination for the Democratic party this year has been marked by debates over the place that big money has in politics, for good reason. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have made good points by saying that candidates who rely on money from big donors or are financially connected to large industries will inevitably favor those industries that provide them with material assets. While Bloomberg has enough money that he is not beholden to any big donors, his business connections, as well as the clear value that he places on accumulating money, makes him much more likely to enact policies that will favor those connections over the wellbeing of the ordinary people in danger of being extorted by those companies. The capitalistic system in America has become increasingly flawed in recent years, with the heads of big companies becoming increasingly wealthy at the expense of those in the working and middle class, and as a billionaire, it’s almost certainly in Bloomberg’s interest to maintain that system as opposed to fixing the inequality that it creates.
This disregard for the Average Joe is evident in the way that Bloomberg has run his presidential campaign, choosing to bombard the airwaves with tailored ads as opposed to winning recognition and support through meet-and-greets and good ideas. As the proud owner of $60 billion dollars (again, a whole lotta money), Bloomberg has been able to drop $400,000,000 on television ads that highlight his strengths while ignoring his weaknesses and failures. As most of the other candidates in the race (except Tom Steyer, but who cares about him anyway) aren’t billionaires, they can’t afford to run a plethora of ads that hide their weaknesses, forcing them to overcome those weaknesses and win support by proving to voters that they have sound ideas that will benefit the country, and that if elected they will actually fight for those ideas instead of selling out. The former NYC mayor, on the other hand, holds almost no meet-and-greets or stump speeches, as his ads create an image of him which has no weaknesses to overcome. A candidate who relies primarily upon purchasing a tailored, misleading image of himself to win him the nomination rather than actually communicating with voters directly and letting their ideas speak for themselves will certainly run his administration in the same uncaring and hollow way. The plutocracy that has come to define our government needs to end, and that cannot happen by electing yet another corrupt plutocrat with a history of discriminatory behavior and policies.
Daniel Knopf can be reached at email@example.com.