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OPINION: Stop letting billionaires run for president



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Former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg speaks to media July 29 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Bloomberg filed to be on the ballot for Alabama's Democratic presidential primary on Nov. 8. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Sometimes you can only sigh and roll your eyes when certain things happen.

On Nov. 8, Michael Bloomberg, former Republican/Independent mayor of New York City and 14th richest person in the world, filed to be on the ballot for Alabama's Democratic presidential primary. 

Because this was the final day to file in the state to be on the ballot, pundits believe this was Bloomberg signaling that he's still weighing a serious run for president. Many may scratch their heads and can only wonder: "Why?" It's actually simple — it's because he feels entitled to as a billionaire.

If he officially joined the race, Bloomberg would be in good company. President Donald Trump and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, with net worths of $3.1 billion and $1.6 billion respectively, also take up oxygen in the already-crowded room of candidates. This, too, comes after former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (net worth $4.2 billion) flirted with and failed an independent run for president.

These billionaires love to run for president because almost nobody can tell them no. They are fueled by the arrogant thought that even with no public office experience, they can bluster and buy their way into the presidency (minus, of course Bloomberg, who bought his way into a mayorship in 2001 with a nearly $71 million self-funded campaign).

It's frustrating beyond reason to see such a glaring crack in the American political system be abused so much. Most other major contenders of the Democratic primary have thoughtful, inspiring campaign messages and have some semblance of public office experience to back it up.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) brings us together and mobilizes a movement with "Not me. Us."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) motivates us and reminds us to shoot for the moon with "Dream big. Fight hard."

Even Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) shows her dedication to the country and her fight for every American as she exclaims that her campaign is "For the people."

What does Steyer stand for? I had to actually Google his campaign slogan to find out that one of his big slogans is… "Actions speak louder than words."

Are you kidding me?

First of all, what kind of a major slogan even is that? It sounds like something an elementary schooler would use for their campaign for hall monitor.

Second, what have his actions been? What has he done other than donate to Democrats and more recently, literally buy endorsements from state officials? Nothing. The irony is just off the charts. The only reason his kindergarten campaign has any traction is because he's burning his money on endless TV and web ads.

It's unfathomable the sheer arrogance behind these individuals. In such an important election cycle, just imagine the amount of money Steyer could give to help the party nationwide. From flipping state legislatures to winning crucial Senate races, his wealth could have sincerely been a mega-boost to the future of the party.

And yet, he's instead spent $47.6 million on a vanity project that resulted in a whopping seven minutes of unremarkable, bland speaking at the last debate. That means he spent the equivalent of $109,000 dollars per second to speak on the stage. $109,000. Per. Second.

The rationalization behind these runs from pundits is similarly lackluster. Billionaire candidates tout their business acumen as a major selling point as to their capability lead the nation, yet we're seeing firsthand how running the country like a business is failing. 

The business-minded president has barricaded himself with a room full of yes men, and nobody has the guts to tell him when he does anything wrong. We're in the midst of impeachment hearings to investigate if Mr. "Art of the Deal" himself tried to leverage aid to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on a political opponent.

In reality, these billionaires seem only interested in maintaining the status quo and are using the presidency to achieve this. As top-tier candidates Sanders and Warren propose comprehensive wealth tax plans, the corporate fat cats are sweating. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had even urged Bloomberg months ago to run, with most critics pointing to these mass taxes as a driving force. 

Class solidarity is one hell of a drug, and it doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican. Whether it be Trump's tax cuts for the wealthy, Steyer's money dump into ads or Bloomberg's potential late entry, one fact remains clear: these billionaires aren't fighting for the working class, and it's time to stop giving legitimacy to their campaigns.

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