It is said that “everyone has their price” – that point where principles and morality can be overcome by money. The self-funded campaign of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be proving that an entire political party has its price.
For generations, the Democratic Party has proffered the argument that there is too much money in politics. All those millionaires and billionaires – and corporate America in general – have been corrupting the American political process with their money. They “own” public officials.
While their claims have been overstated with exaggerated fearmongering, it has been the mantra of Democrats that money in politics is an inherent evil. The most extreme class-warfare warrior is Vermont Senator – and current Democrat presidential frontrunner – Bernie Sanders. Sanders has never met a millionaire or billionaire he does not hate — no matter that Bernie, himself, rose from poverty to millionaire status while in public service.
Now that Bloomberg has entered the scene with his billions and billions of dollars, the Democratic Party has hit mattress faster than a New York streetwalker at the sight of a c-note.
To launch his campaign for President, Bloomberg tapped into his billions to spend more money on early campaigns than any candidate in American history – more money than all the other 26 Democrats had spent combined. He used the slickest of the slick image makers to craft a virtual reality image of the mayor – a noble image that many New Yorkers did not see in all those years he served as their mayor.
Knowing he had problems with his racist behavior in the past, he made a campaign-eve mea culpa that has all the credibility of a guy selling watches on the street corner. Specifically, he was using his virtually unlimited wealth to re-write his own political history – specifically his racially biased enforcement of the stop and frisk policy he took to new levels of tough enforcement against black citizens without even the threshold of “probable cause.”
In the past, he called for locking up every black pot smoker. By his own claim, he put “all” the cops in black neighborhoods because that is where “all” the crime takes place. He encouraged his police to take essentially young black males and “shove them against the wall and frisk them.”
He now claims to be a changed man – and he has the money to prove it. He seems to believe that he can overcome his lack of credibility by dangling money in front of everyone from the political activist to the news media. If it were not for all that money being spent on advertising, it is more likely that the press would be exposing his past, his record and his hypocrisy on a daily basis.
Some of his paid political advisors were among the most outspoken critics of big money politicians. Now they work for him making silly rationalizations as to why Bloomberg is different than the high-roller donors they excoriated just a few weeks ago. They ridiculously claim that because he uses his billions, he does not have to take money from those other rich special-interest characters. Good God! HE IS ONE OF THOSE SPECIAL-INTEREST CHARACTERS. The idea that he is absolved from listening to anyone else should horrify the electorate – and anyone who believes in dialogue in the democratic process.
Bloomberg lives out his money-makes-me-unaccountable proposition by refusing to engage in the traditional on-the-ground political process. He avoids the debates. As others compete and draw comparisons between their proposals and records, Bloomberg runs his ad. As others hit the campaign trail to face voters in seemingly endless events and forms, Bloomberg runs his ads. As others face the press on an almost daily basis, Bloomberg runs his ads.
Bloomberg spreads his wealth around to purchase favor and loyalty from individuals, civic organizations and other political candidates. He solicits endorsements from those he funds and those who hope to get funds. Bloomberg appears to benefit from pre-purchased endorsements – candidates and causes to which he donated in the past. He knows that people tend to flock to folks who throw money around like it is candy in an Independence Day parade.
Even the Democratic National Committee changed the rules to accommodate Bloomberg – and hurt frontrunner Bernie Sanders – after Bloomberg gave a substantial donation – larger than he had ever given before.
To close his deal with the Democratic Party – exposing its hypocrisy regarding money and politics – the former mayor offered to spend billions of dollars on behalf of Democrat candidates and to defeat President Trump even if he, Bloomberg, is not the candidate. There it is — that proverbial c-note being waved in front of Democrats who have long been critical of rich guys like Bloomberg – and the sound you hear is the Democratic leadership dropping to their knees.
So, there ‘tis.